Erin's Journals

Monday, February 6, 2023

So, some journals have to be watched to be really understood – and this week’s is one. 

You can watch it on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

It’s about wigs. Um…mine. Some folks may have suspected during Covid that my coif was not my own and today I come clean: say hello to my little friends!

Enjoy – have a laugh (goodness knows I do while I’m ‘fessing up) and remember, we have 5 glorious enVy Pillows to give away to listeners of our Gracefully and Frankly podcast. Details and questions above; it’s also where you can just click a box to listen to the podcast. There are five episodes, each 30 minutes long and the 10 questions (all multiple choice – you’re welcome) that, if answered correctly, get you in the draw for those beautiful silk and copper-infused pillows.

Enjoy the podcast. Good luck! Your odds are pretty darned good, my friend.

I’ll be back next Monday with a written journal – on friendship.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, February 6, 2023
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Monday, January 30, 2023

Just a thought… Think like a man, act like a lady, work like a dog. [Hazel McCallion]

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

Before we get going, I wanted to start off by saying thank you again. Our podcast, Lisa Brandt’s and my Gracefully & Frankly is sitting high and we’re having a giveaway I’ll tell you about at the end of this journal.

Honestly, as I start a new decade in my life, this newest project has given me purpose, as we put something of value, hopefully, even for a few minutes a week, out into the world. Which, of course, leads me to the woman we are remembering today.

You’ve probably heard the news of the passing of Hurricane Hazel: the long-serving mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion. She died yesterday, just a few weeks short of her 102nd birthday on Valentine’s Day, and before her legacy could be tarnished by backing Doug Ford’s greenbelt destruction any further. She took her leave yesterday, just a few weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As former premier (and beneficiary of Hazel’s moral support) Kathleen Wynne said, Ms McCallion was “a champion who defied stereotype.”

I had a chance to talk with Mayor McCallion on our morning radio shows and, of course, I asked the secret to her longevity. Mostly it was being active and engaged. She stayed fit by skating well into her 90s. She was a hockey player alongside her sisters as a young girl in Quebec, and played as a professional in the 1940s and then later and often in charity games well into her senior years. She also told us that the secret to her health, besides staying active and fit, was drinking tart cherry juice – something I think I may just start doing, now that I think of it!

She was a feminist, despite disliking the term; her whole career was a glass ceiling-shattering slap shot. As former premier Wynne recalls, there was a fight back in 1979 to keep women from becoming garbage collectors; this was not “women’s work” after all, and we weren’t strong enough to do it. To those arguments, Ms McCallion replied, “Who do you think hauls it to the street to begin with?” Of course, her side won.

After facing enough garbage, both as a determined woman at a time when there were few of them in the political ring, and later as a leader, I have to believe that a huge part of Mayor McCallion’s longevity was the way she stayed busy.

Which brings us to the past few months. Perhaps when you’re in a time of your life where the phone almost completely stops ringing, working with the provincial government again was her answering the call of duty one more time. After her lifetime of service, that is what I choose to believe. It is not my place to judge her; I’ll leave that to time and history. I will remember her as a force of nature.

Oh, and as for “Hurricane Hazel?” Mayor McCallion did not at all mind being nicknamed after the storm that struck Ontario with such force in 1954; she said it wasn’t great that it was a natural disaster, but hurricanes move things. And move things she did.

Although she lost the fight to keep Streetsville from merging with Mississauga, she froze taxes, oversaw unprecedented growth and her name was synonymous with progress.

She was one of a kind – perhaps not ahead of her time, but just in time – who led us all to a new era for women in politics.

And in a day and age when good people are held to the sidelines because of the horrendous vitriol that is thrown in the direction of public servants, while she was a first in many ways, she may well also be the last.

May she rest peacefully; goodness knows she earned it.

Before I go, a few reminders: tomorrow, a brand new Drift sleep story drops – literally – as it’s the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun.

Oh, and don’t forget that my podcast bestie Lisa Brandt and I bring youEpisode 5 of Gracefully & Frankly on Thursday. Do enter our contest to WIN a gorgeous top-of-the-line silk and copper-infused enVy pillow. It’s a random draw among participants who can answer a 10-question multiple choice quiz correctly on things we’ve discussed.

Find out more on our Gracefully and Frankly Facebook page. Contest closes Friday the 10th of February at midnight with the announcement of winners on Valentine’s Day: Hazel’s birthday.

You be well and we’ll talk to you here next Monday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, January 30, 2023
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Monday, January 23, 2023

Today’s video journal was done live on a dock at the ocean; you may want to watch it on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Hope you had a good weekend as we head into this final week of January. Before we get going, a quick note that you’re going to want to hear: one of five gorgeous enVy pillows that my podcast partner Lisa and I both have (actually, so does Rob) could be yours on Valentine’s Day. We’re going to give away five of them to listeners of our podcasts who can answer some attention-testing questions. So get caught up – download Gracefully and Frankly wherever you get podcasts and if you don’t know how, go to our fb page and watch the video of HOW to listen. I promise it’s easy and will be totally worth your time.

So I’m going to be away for a few weeks in February – I’ll do my best to bring you a blog from vacay – but it means that Rob and I will be apart on our 35th wedding anniversary. So this past weekend, we bumped it up a month and went away to a little house, a guest house, on a much bigger property called Sea Lion Estates. You can look it up if you want – it’s a huge place that you can rent for weddings, vacations and stuff – but with just the two of us, we rented a guest house that overlooks the property. Here’s the view we had of the main house.

We came for the view, for the sound of the ocean waves and just to cocoon, but how much of that we’d be doing, we had no idea.

We checked in on Friday and first thing we tried to do, like most 21st century people, was log on to the WiFi. We’d been told by our thorough host that we might have troubles (this part of the island is notorious for it) and…we did. Now, Rob is a master Mr. Fix-It wherever we go; he should actually travel with a tool kit and we should get discounts. (Side note: I’m suggesting he put in dimmer switches wherever we go, then take them out when we leave, just to help with ambience. Tell me how that could possibly go wrong, besides giving himself an X-ray????)

In this case, he couldn’t get us on WiFi. Here in Jordan River, right near Sooke, BC on southern Vancouver Island, we’re so close to the US that we automatically go onto an American phone carrier. That’s okay; we have a package that lets us do that for free. Still, it was, as my mom used to say, “slow as molasses in January.”

Being offline is far from the worst problem anyone can have. I know that. But on this particular weekend, we both had editing and other work to do. As Rob’s frustration at his inability to fix this grew, I reminded him that these circumstances were actually taking us back to 35 years ago when we had NONE of these things: cell phones, downloaded movies, a PVR or WiFi. The only actual connection we were supposed to make over the weekend was with each other. And we were being nudged to do just that! Awwww.

Okay…so maybe by Saturday morning we were sick of each other or Rob’s hockey-itis got the better of him, but we contacted our host to tell her our problems. She suggested one more fix and it worked! She told us we shouldn’t have been reluctant to be those whiny people when things first tripped up. So we were able to watch the Leafs and Habs on Hockey Day in Canada and so on. Crisis averted!

Honestly, the best sounds I heard all weekend weren’t the dings of messages coming in or the calls of “he scores!” on the TV: it was the gentle, incessant roar of the ocean and the barking of seals or sea lions gathered near surfers just off shore.

“Hey,” I asked Rob, “what do you call a group of seals, anyway?” 

His answer: “An approval? A navy?” (Actually it’s a colony, a rookery or a harem).

On our way home, we stopped at the Rotary Walk in Sooke to shoot my vlog and take some photos:

So, seals with a kiss (wink wink): that was our weekend. Hope you have a gentle week ahead and that you get a chance to sleep well with Drift – and don’t forget your chance to win a gorgeous silk- and copper-infused, top of the line enVy pillow, just for listening carefully to Gracefully and Frankly! This is getting realllllly good.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, January 23, 2023
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Monday, January 16, 2023

Just a thought… We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection. [Sherry Turkle]

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

You’ve probably heard by now, likely from radio or tv shows with nothing else to talk about dark and early today, that this is supposedly Blue Monday or the saddest day of the year because the weather is not great most places in our part of the world, the bills from the holidays are coming in and we’re not getting enough daylight to lift our spirits.

I call BS because it is BS. This all came about from a British travel company that started pushing the idea of Blue Monday so that people would – wait for it – book vacations.

So we’re going to do something super positive today. And I’m going to share with you the kind of story that’ll make your day. I haven’t done one in a while, and I don’t know why not.

So here’s a feel-good story I thought you’d like and I hope you haven’t heard it. In The Netherlands, Jumbo, a 700-store grocery chain, has opened a new checkout lane called a “Kletskassa” which translates to “Chat Checkout.” It’s so people who want to take their time and have a real human interaction – perhaps the only one of their day – can do so at these stores.

It’s not surprising that The Netherlands would come up with this idea; they already lead the world in fitness, thanks to the number of kilometres people cycle each year on the whole. So this shows they value mental health as well as physical health!

This was first tried in 2019 under a government program called “One Against Loneliness.” Now, four years later, many of us do feel isolated, either by choice or circumstance as we all recognize that Covid is not over by a long shot (for example, Jamie Lee Curtis has confirmed she has it and will be skipping the next several awards ceremonies and events to prevent others from catching it).

The point of the Chat Checkout is to give people, who would otherwise be rushed through to get to the next customer, the opportunity to talk, to make eye contact and just to be seen by someone.

When I told our 97-year-old friend Mira this the other day, her face lit up. She said it’s always like this in Sidney and, quite likely for her, it is; she is a friendly and engaging woman and I haven’t met many cashiers in our nearby small BC town who didn’t want to ask you why you liked some brand of ice cream bars, or what your plans were for the rest of the day. I’m not sure if it’s in the training here, in a town so full of seniors, but once you get used to it, it’s really quite nice.

And it just adds to the wisdom of a story that came through on the other day about how small talk – actually starting a conversation with someone in line or the produce department or a waiting room – can result in significant behavioural changes.

The Neighbourly Lab in the UK put up stickers on buses in the Hammersmith part of London saying “Who can say hello first?” It began when someone noticed only one in five people greeting the bus driver when they boarded. Apparently, early results are promising and it just points to the importance of us getting out of our own little worlds, looking up from our devices (not now, please) and engaging with others. The main reason we don’t, according to the story, is a fear of rejection.

To heck with them, I say. If they don’t know what they’re missing by not having a chat with you, that’s their loss. I was on a plane in November and the woman next to me started up a conversation. We ended up exchanging books. She gave me Jay Shetty’s Think Like a Monk, which she was travelling with at the time; later, I mailed her and her mom copies of Mourning Has Broken.

The woman? She turned out to be one of Bob Marley’s daughters-in-law and we watched videos of her super talented son Damian Marley on YouTube. So yes, start a conversation. You just never know, do you? And chances are, “every little thing’s gonna be all right…” right?

Enjoy a brand new story tomorrow on Drift with Erin Davis and then Thursday, episode 3 of Gracefully and Frankly, my new podcast with Lisa Brandt. We’ve had well over 2000 listens and we’d love you to join us,  too. We’ll talk to you then! Or better yet, now!

Rob WhiteheadMonday, January 16, 2023
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Monday, January 9, 2023

Just a thought… Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity, we use it. [Maya Angelou]

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

Happy New Year AGAIN. I keep saying it well into the year and I don’t care. Soon it’ll be the Lunar New Year – Year of the Rabbit – so we can say it again then. Maybe as long as we keep saying it, we get fresh chances.

Like the new podcast my friend and fellow broad in broadcasting Lisa Brandt and I started up last Thursday called Gracefully and Frankly. Just a few days in, we’d already had more than 800 listens (thank you!). To put that in perspective, that’s in the top 5% worldwide – and if you go here, you’ll even find a video on how to listen to a podcast.

It’s okay if you don’t know – we all had to learn sometime. And this one, since it was our first, is a great time for you to listen to one for the first time too, right? Then maybe you’ll try Drift sleep stories, too…well, I can dream. In fact, so can you! LOL

Anyway, I bring this up because one of things Lisa and I will be talking about this Thursday really has me scratching my head. Lisa asked me to think about it – and I’m going to ask you to think about it too.

If you and five others were the last people on earth, what talents would you bring to the group?

Now, here’s the thing. I used to ask myself a similar question: if I was in Little House on the Prairie times or dropped on another planet, what skills, what talents, could I bring to the people there to save us, or even myself?

This is where it gets awkward. Because I can’t really do anything useful. I could show them how to use two broad blades of grass to make a whistling or tooting sound. That’ll get me killed. Or I could show them how to crochet, but then we’re going to have to get wool off a sheep or something. Or perhaps use those aforementioned grasses? I don’t know. Does that save my life? Hmmm.

My talents, if you will, are as follows (and are open to argument): talking, editing, putting up pithy memes. Doing tech 21st century stuff. Negotiating peace. Listening. Okay, those last two things are hopefully what might save me and whatever is left of the civilization I’ve been dropped into: the ability to try to get both sides to agree on something, or see their commonality, their humanity (if they’re humans).

Can I start a fire? No. Maybe I can stop a fight. And if you think about it, perhaps a fight – the big one with Putin and the red button – is what started this, so SOMEBODY had better start listening.

But still, I’m definitely not the one to go on Elon Musk’s last rocket to another planet. Pick Rob. He sews, can fix or wire anything and really does have a lot more talents than I do.

That’s why one day soon he’ll be in a vase. Oh, no, it’s not an urn – I promised I’d remind you about that new year’s gratitude jar. Mine’s a vase and I promise I won’t bore you with each week’s entry, but just to show I did, here it is: we launched Gracefully and Frankly and Lisa Brandt and I are grateful and in awe at the number of people who have listened, who have written and who will listen to episode two this Thursday!

And oh, if you haven’t listened to a podcast or don’t know how – just go to back to Facebook and I’ll have a link for you to a cute little video Lisa made that takes you through it step by step. I promise you’ll thank us – as I thank you – and I’ll be back here with you next Monday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, January 9, 2023
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