Erin's Journals

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Just a thought… Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them, the rest of us could not succeed. [Mark Twain]

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

Well, here we are, the first day of April. No “April Fool’s Day” here; I have to read enough tweets from people who have absolutely no scientific knowledge and who probably couldn’t spell “scientific knowledge” if they were challenged to, expounding daily on a global pandemic. So, yeah, I’ll pass. And Mr. Twain: maybe those fools are the ones who are preventing us from succeeding? Hmmm….

Hey, if you listen to Toronto radio and woke up thinking you were dreaming when you heard Mike Cooper back on the morning show on CHFI, you know by now, since he’s been doing it for a week, that yes, my favourite radio guy is back in the saddle again. He’s filling in during Darren’s absence and just doing a fantastic job, having a great time and making life joyful again for Maureen, Ian, Gord and Christine. I mean, how great is it that after five years off mornings, Mike can just slide in and feel like he hasn’t missed a step? Talk about a natural. I’m just so happy for them all.

Mike isn’t one to look back or to dwell on the past and I’ve taken a page from him in terms of my career. Sure, there were lots of wonderful moments, but it’s the overall picture, the one that has been painted in bright colours of laughter and framed in a great big heart, that I cherish most.

So it was with a sense of dread that I was tasked with finding pictures from my early radio years. You see, after a year’s delay, this May, yours truly is being inducted into the Canadian Broadcast and Music Industry Hall of Fame. It’ll be virtual and I’ll be recording an acceptance, which is a bummer, but of course I’m still grateful. For one thing, I won’t have to find out if I can walk in heels. For another, I don’t need to get nervous about remembering people’s names or screwing up a speech.

But these last few weeks, I’ve been stuck in a time machine, going through piles of photos from our lives stacked and crammed carelessly into torn boxes that have moved from basements to garages in houses and cottages over the past 30-some years. Yes, there were a ton of family pictures (some of those felt like a gut punch), but I tried to hurry past them.

I was searching among the clippings and magazines, pictures preceding my time at CHFI, which began in 1988. But there just aren’t any of me at CFRA in Ottawa, CKLW in Windsor or CKO in Toronto, the stations whose people and experiences helped this chipmunk-cheeked newscaster grow into who I eventually became.

After hours of dusty delving, I finally found three pictures in – of all places – photo albums, whose plastic sleeves are yellow with age. Those three will have to do.

You see, like my friend Mike Cooper, these days, we’re more about making memories, instead of looking back. Of course, there’s a time for appreciation and reflection, but that’s for someone else to do. Me? I’m looking forward – to celebrating our son-in-law Phil’s birthday today and Rob’s birthday, which coincides with Easter Sunday, this weekend.

Whatever you’re doing, may the bunny be good to you, may your heart be full and may you make some memories of your own. Even if they’re just of the chocolate-covered variety this year. Happy Easter and I’ll have a new journal for you on Tuesday of next week after the holiday Monday.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, April 1, 2021
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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Just a thought… I tell my students there is such a thing as ‘writer’s block,’ and they should respect it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now. [Toni Morrison]

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

Well, thank you for understanding that I took yesterday off – really it was just a matter of writer’s (or talker’s) block. I mean, what is there to say about Covid that hasn’t been said millions of times now in the past year? One step forward, three steps back, rinse and repeat. Just when we think we might be seeing glimpses of hope and even the opportunity to start making plans, this B 117 variant is rearing its ugly head. We were warned, we were told this was coming.

So here’s a perspective I didn’t expect to hear: last week I had a phone chat with my dad’s gal pal, a woman who’s 91 years old, who was lamenting that her son can’t come and visit or take her for appointments and so on because he hasn’t yet gotten his vaccination. And she said to me, “I don’t know why they’re wasting them on us folks, when the people with productive lives aren’t getting them.”

Now I don’t usually argue with her – I try not to argue with anyone except Rob or my sisters – but I said it’s because they’re the foundations of our society, our elders, our treasured ancestors who got us here. To which she responded, with humour, “Well, I’m not sure we want to take responsibility for that!” And I laughed – we both did – as we saw each other’s side in the conversation and just how impossible it all is. Especially for folks who just can’t get out.

Rob and I? We’re coping. We’re fortunate to be in a situation where we are able to see our loved ones. And…I said I wasn’t going to talk about Covid.

So what else about that writer’s block…? I won’t talk politics here – well, not Canadian politics anyway – unless it’s positive. And when does that happen? The way I see it, why risk alienating readers if you and I don’t agree? I mean, when I talked about US politics, that was different. I really didn’t care if people who supported you-know-who were mad; they’re not people I see eye-to-eye with anyway. So maybe they found someone who agreed with them…and that’s okay.

Do you find yourself watching a lot less US news these days? I know I do and frankly it’s a big relief. The CNN logo is no longer emblazoned on my TV screen and I rarely even watch late night talk shows. When another mass shooting is a sign that life in the US is getting back to “normal” I haven’t got time for the pain until they fix a system that’s horribly broken.

I don’t care to watch jokes about Joe Biden’s age or whatever else they’re trying hard to be topical about, so we just stay in our groove of watching local news on the PVR, catching up with the day’s ancient Law & Order episodes and occasionally treating ourselves to a really good show like the new HBO documentary just released Saturday about Tina Turner.

Now there’s a survivor. Like its subject, the documentary is incredible – inspiring, infuriating, sad and exhilarating all at the same time – and with some killer singing and dancing thrown in, too. What a powerhouse, that Miss Tina Turner! She’s 81 and not in great health now, but the documentary is one that I really do recommend and it’s described as sort of her “thank-you and good-bye” to fans. Simply called Tina, you can see it on Crave if you get it, here in Canada.

So, there you have it – what’s been going on here is that I’ve just wondered what to say. I mean, you hear about Colin and you know what’s happening our lives. There’s so much more behind the scenes that I’m working on that I’ll be able to tell you about soon, but it’s keeping me busy. Oh, and then there’s the diving into boxes and my radio past, as I was forced to do on the weekend. But I’ll tell you about that on Thursday.

Take good care and, as always, thank you. For understanding and for just being here.

Rob WhiteheadTuesday, March 30, 2021
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Monday, March 29, 2021

Just a thought… 

I’m taking a long weekend. I know there’s one coming next week, but today I just feel like I haven’t anything to say.

Thank you for coming by and I hope to return tomorrow. All is well!



Rob WhiteheadMonday, March 29, 2021
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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Just a thought… Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know. [Pema Chodron]

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

Welcome in. I thought I’d move the journal up to Wednesday this week because, after a lot of talk and some big changes in our lives, I’ve come to a decision that a lot of people in grief come to – and it’s a good one, I think. And March 24th is the perfect day to tell you about it.

Because Rob and I, and by extension, Lauren and even her little family – then and now – have lived such a public life, something for which I’m very grateful and always will be, there are big days on our life’s calendar. One is May 11th – the day in 2015 that Lauren, our daughter, died.

But the other big one is the one we choose to celebrate today, which marks 30 years since Lauren was born at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. And from here on in, I’ll not be sharing memories or memes, pictures or thoughts on May 11th. Because it’s time. Time we marked the happiest day of our lives, and push the hardest one into the shadows.

Rob and I had a long talk about it this week. I know that on social media – especially Facebook – it’s all about the memories. But here’s the thing: I am done with sharing our sadness. I no longer want to pull you back into where we were that day; not when we’ve found so much more happiness in our lives since 2015.

In the past year, our grandson, the sweet seven-month-old boy she left behind that day after Mother’s Day, who is now six years old, has moved to within a few kilometres of us. We see him so regularly he has his own room, he’s set up with everything that he needs for sleepovers (and then some). Our house echoes with laughter and shouts of excitement over hockey games and Bingo wins, there’s mud, and chalk dust everywhere, along with library books, rocks, baseballs – you name it. In the past few months, Rob has even taught Colin to skate and to ride a bike without training wheels: all of the things he wanted to do with and for our grandson – and hopefully Colin’s sister Jane, our granddaughter – one day.

We have, as my book title puts it, “reclaimed joy.” And Colin now knows his story: our story.

This past Family Day, Colin was helped in drawing his family tree. Once his mom and dad had explained where he came from and who we are in the whole big picture, they asked him how he felt. And he said, “I’m really happy!” Puzzled (as we were when we heard) they asked him why. His response? “Because so many people love me!

He couldn’t be more correct. But here’s the sweetest part of all: in conversations that followed, Colin realized that Lauren will forever be 24, as she was the day she left us. And he expressed sadness that she would no longer be celebrating birthdays. So…today, we’re going to her bench in Sidney – the one with a plaque on it remembering her. We’ll leave some tulips, and later, with his whole family here, we’ll have a little party and light the candles on this cake.

In so many ways, Colin and the generosity of the spirit of his mom Brooke and, of course, his dad Phil, we are indeed reclaiming joy. So, no more May 11th mentions – just quietly in our hearts – but we are going to celebrate this day from now on. This is what Lauren would want – all of this.

Today, instead of marking the day our lives went dark, we are lighting the way to a happier and more joyful future.

Rob WhiteheadWednesday, March 24, 2021
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Monday, March 22, 2021

Just a thought… Great achievement is usually born out of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness. [Napoleon Hill]

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

Monday. Spring. For us, the first full day yesterday meant having the fireplace log on the TV and trying to think warm thoughts amidst the mass of covidiots who are still out there protesting because they have to wear a piece of cloth or paper on their faces.

I can’t say any more here than I’ve already said…just that in the city of Kelowna, BC, where one protest of several hundred unmasked people took place yesterday, my dad is literally wasting away in a seniors’ residence. But that’s okay right? He’s 87 and obviously he doesn’t matter, when what really counts is being able to party with your bros and to hell with the rest of us.

The variants are spreading to the point where a third wave is looking more like a matter of not “if” but “when” and some of us are worried sick about those we love. Our friends. Our parents. Our children. Each other. Yeah, never mind. What a bunch of privileged sucks who have no idea what hardship really is. So…I’ll move on.

I had a four-way Zoom call with my sisters yesterday: one who lives in the Ajijic area of Mexico (near Guadalajara) with her husband and just got her first vaccine – tremendous news in that she lives with lupus – and my other two sisters, who are both in Kelowna.

We talked about the usual things: updates on how we are, what’s up with Dad and some ongoing mysterious withdrawals from his bank account that he has no idea about, Colin made a cameo to say “hi” to the coven, and then we wrapped up on a joking note, as we almost always do.

My younger sister Leslie, who, along with her husband Paul is doing bang-up business with a new concierge delivery service they named Better Call Paul (my idea, thank you!), was talking about wearing a mask so frequently: the pains and pluses. I told her to remember how much she’s saving on lipstick, even though I should talk. I still wear makeup when I go out and am constantly washing masks that look like the Shroud of Turin except with foundation or tinted powder.

Then she added that because she doesn’t spend much time in front of a mirror, she often forgets tweezer duties (and the girls on here will know exactly what I mean). We joked about how when Covid is over, maybe we’ll unmask, only to discover we all have the equivalent of hockey playoff beards. But I told her to look at the bright side: those whiskers could be acting like Velcro to keep her mask in place.


God, you have to laugh. When so many people have real hardships, you just have to. Like a pal of mine in the ER the other day who was getting medication on the spot for some severe pain. Two other guys were also in there and one was getting constantly contacted by phone. His ringer? A train whistle. I’m not even kidding. If it was me next to him, I’d have politely asked him to please put his phone on vibrate. Then if he refused, I might have been tempted to knock that Orange Blossom Special right out of his hand.

Honestly, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. And really, haven’t we wasted enough makeup already?

Take good care and I’ll be back with you here on Thursday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, March 22, 2021
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