Erin's Journals

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Just a thought… The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you. [Neil Degrasse Tyson]

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

Long ago, one of my radio partners, Don Daynard, said that I looked like Angela Lansbury. Now with Don, I was never sure if it was a compliment or not, but now I have a mystery on my hands that is right up Jessica Fletcher’s Murder She Wrote alley.

Last week, Rob got an envelope in the mail from one of our former fellow Rotarians in Sidney. That envelope had been sent to the community centre where the Rotary meetings were held before Covid, and the member kindly sent it on via snail mail to Rob.

The envelope had no return address, just the writing, “Rotarian Rob Whitehead” and the address of the community centre. So that was strange enough.

But the contents were really bizarre. This photo.

Take a look at the gal on the right. That’s me, aged 12, bawling as a classmate wrote in my autograph book at Grade Eight graduation.

There’s a whole lot in that picture, and what a nice job my mom did in sewing that dress! But more to the point: I was crying my face off. Big old ugly tears. Oh, I was always crying.

I hated good-byes (moving around as an air force kid will do that to you). I was the one the family called “Mona” supposedly for always moaning and crying (and this was before my teen years!) the “over sensitive” one. Yes, I was an alien being in my own family, but that sensitivity and perceived weakness turned me into an observer, a feeler, a writer, a communicator and whatever it is you see here today.

But who sent it? Why was it kept? Half a face is cut off in the foreground and I can’t even remember the name of the girl signing. (Is that you, Corinne Cummings?) And why was it sent without even a cover note?

So many mysteries and nothing I’ll lose sleep over. But someone out there went out of their way to put a stamp on an envelope to send, not me, but my husband this picture and then leave us hanging as to the circumstances surrounding it.

I guess we’ll never know. 

Oh, and before I go, have you found my Drift Sleep Stories podcast yet? I’m terrible at promoting things, but I have to start spreading the word a bit. I’ve got all kinds of great 30-minute stories, starting with some gentle and relaxing music, and ending with waves. Give it a go: here’s a link.

It’s free unless you want to subscribe for stories before everyone else and interviews with some fascinating people on sleep-related topics, like dream coach and expert Patti Allen and pediatric sleep guru Dr. Jodi Mindell. Please go and find it and, when you do, please rate it on Apple so more people will find it too! Thank you!

Have a relaxing weekend, try to stay sane and safe and I’ll be back with you Monday.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, August 12, 2021
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Monday, August 9, 2021

Just a thought… A lot of the people who keep a gun at home for safety are the same ones who refuse to wear a seat belt. [George Carlin]

And I’m going to add “a mask,” but first, to Olympic rings, Canadian flags and moments of pure joy….

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

And so, a year late and with far less fanfare than we’ve seen in our lifetimes, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are done, and the Paralympics begin on August 24th. As usual, I went in having close to zero interest (something I’m loathe to admit, as it seems just so wrong) and came out with a heart full of pride for all of the athletes but, of course, especially our Canadians.

With a record 24 Gold, Silver and Bronze (in non-boycotted games), and many of our participants coming home with only memories and a whole lot of experience for next time, they’re all winners. I’ve got undying respect for their commitment, their sacrifices, their talent and their courage.

What have we done for Canada lately, besides cheer on our athletes, be respectful to competitors from other countries and share in an immense amount of national pride? Well, let’s see…we could defend our borders – and not with the guns mentioned by Mr. Carlin, but with masks. And uh-oh, here’s the unpopular part: closures to some.

I know people have many really good reasons to want to allow the borders to open again, especially to American travellers. First: matters of the heart and people who haven’t hugged or seen a family member in person in a year-and-a-half. Then there’s the economy: like so many in the lower latitudes of Canada, I reside in an area that depends largely on US dollars, so I understand that a lot of people are figuratively dying for those American greenbacks. But actually dying for them? No, thanks.

Come on into Canada – or for that matter into BC from Alberta – but please, only if you can prove you’ve been vaccinated or have a legit reason not to have been.

A vaccine “passport” is not a huge deal; travellers to foreign countries have needed them for decades in the instances of highly-infectious diseases such as yellow fever, polio and meningitis. My dad would get several shots to travel the less-developed parts of the world during his time in the Armed Forces; it’s what you did to protect yourself. And unless I’m mistaken, most kids have to prove they’ve had their shots before being let into school. It’s been a thing forever, but somehow, people scream about a dictatorship if you have to prove you’ve had a vaccine during a worldwide pandemic. Good Lord, the entitlement, shortsightedness, selfishness.

I’m not going to argue with people who are still against the Covid vaccine (like James on my FB page yesterday who said “brainwashed” and I responded, “Better than brain dead”). ‘Cause, Jimmy boy, at this point, it seems the only thing that gets through some heads or changes people’s minds is finding themselves or their own loved ones in the ICU.

But if our grandson, his two-year-old sister or anyone in our family is hospitalized this fall because a parent of one of his little classmates contracted Covid due to their cellphone-science-surfing on the toilet, I’m going to be looking for names. If someone comes into my dad’s seniors’ residence and hasn’t been vaxxed and passes on a breakthrough variant to him, his 91-year-old gal pal or anyone else there, same fury here.

At this point, the vast majority of those dying from Covid are the ones not vaccinated, but that doesn’t spare those who can’t be immunized from suffering and living with long term effects.

Please don’t stop begging those around you who haven’t made up their minds yet. It’s not JUST ABOUT THEM. And for those who say, “No one should be forced to do anything,” like Ontario’s Doug Ford, remind them about seatbelts. Yes, you could still be in an accident wearing one, but you’re far less likely to die or suffer terrible consequences. And that’s not just science, it’s common sense.

I’ll be back with you here on Thursday.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, August 9, 2021
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Friday, August 6, 2021

Just a thought… And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new & trust the magic of beginnings. [Meister Eckhart]

As always, you can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube (if there’s an ad there, thank Motown!).

I want to share with you a story or two about a guy – a pillar at CHFI – who’s leaving the only job he ever had, today. Okay, he did have another job: he drove the van for the Pickle Barrel in his teens until he took a corner too fast and a door flew open. Out sailed a brisket, or an entire leg of beef, or heck – who knows? – maybe the whole cow, and he kind of quit on the spot. But from there, he moved on to handling hams; so much better at that.

Today Ian ‘The General” MacArthur says good-bye, after 30 years of helming the CHFI Morning Show with me, Don Daynard, then Bob Magee, Jay and Billie, then me again, but with Mike Cooper…

…and Ian’s new-found little brother, our tech producer, the wonderful Gord Rennie…

Then the insanity of the past few years…and lovely Mo and Mike, of course, which brings us to today. Ian is sailing off into a new life of reWirement. No one will fill those big shoes, or strangely little chair….

That’s one Lauren had as a toddler, then we gave it to Ian and Anita and their three children…and the day after Lauren’s wedding, he delivered it back to her. Her son and his sister now use that chair in our home in BC. It means the world to us and, of course, so does our dear friend, her Uncle Ian.

If you subscribe to the CHFI newsletter, you’ll probably have seen a tribute to Ian from his daughter Ava. If you missed it, here’s a link.

I hope you hear or heard the show on 98.1 CHFI this morning. Rob and I put together a little something for the radio. Ian has a very special memory of a Breakfast on the Beach with Lionel Richie. Also, this weekend Ian takes off for three weeks in his native PEI and so, from one ocean to another, I send this love letter on the airwaves and the ocean waves to my friend. (Imagine the Commodores’ hit “Sail On” playing quietly.) 

Ian, I’ve had an awful time finding the words today – but I’m looking at the ocean and thinking of you.

I mean, how to sum up 30 years of closeness – a lifetime in many ways – and a friendship that grew into more like a brother and sister than I think either of us ever knew possible.

From perfect harmonies to sharing all of those mornings – the rawest, guffaw-est time of day together – before most of our world was even awake.

You gave many of us THE most memorable good-byes and I’ll never be able to dance you out, as you did me from Casa Loma, ending this radio career I’m not even sure was possible without you in my corner. ‘Cause you’re The General. If you were there, we were going to be okay.

But after 30 years of steering this flagship into the sunrise, you have earned smooth waters AND warm winds, knowing you were the best brother, producer and leader you could’ve been for our team (even with Beckham!).

Now get out there and rock your reWirement.

Do it on YOUR terms with love, laughter, and loads of loud music.

Sail on, my friend. And THANK YOU. Rob and I adore you, Ian – now go on and find your good time.

Rob WhiteheadFriday, August 6, 2021
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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Just a thought… Don’t change Salt Spring – Let Salt Spring change you. [Bumper Sticker seen on ferry to Salt Spring Island]

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

Hello – and welcome to a new month here and a journal I’m just hoping you enjoy as much as I did experiencing it.

I told you last week that Rob and I were going to Salt Spring Island – about a 35-minute ferry ride from here – and we did! With a population of ten to eleven thousand, it’s a delightful, mountainous island filled with artists, crafters, farmers and a great many people who left a faster-paced life in search of a life closer to nature and with far more contentment and peace. And, oh, did they come to the right place!

A visitor comes in search of those gifts as well on this piece of land that is only 74 square miles: 17 miles long and 9 miles wide. I ticked a lot of items off my summer bucket list while here, from kayaking – which I haven’t done since we moved away from Ontario five years ago…

…to finding a few of the fairy doors while hiking part of Mount Erskine. (Didn’t do the whole thing; months of sitting and writing, recording and editing haven’t done my stamina or my butt and legs any good at all this year.)

We took our bikes (not the e-bikes; couldn’t port them safely on the MINI) but it was too hilly for this kid. Did lots of walking and convertible driving in the dusty, parched countryside, though.

By far, my favourite part of our getaway to Salt Spring was our stop at one of the lavender farms that adorn the island.

No one more perfectly embodies getting away from the rat race, than Awatief and Ben, the couple who founded Lavender & Black after having worked in health care and engineering respectively.

Established in 2016, some 4000 lavender and immortelle plants have been nurtured and harvested since then. There’s a self-guided tour of the farm and its contemporary studio/essential oil distillery/greenhouse facility…and, of course, a shop where you can buy the fruits of their labours.

I picked up summer lavender diffuser oil and reeds for us, and an immortelle/lavender balm for Rob’s shoulders. It smells gorgeous.

Immortelle is related to the sunflower and boasts several healing properties – its botanical name is Helichrysum.

I was delighted to taste some creamy and lovely lavender ice cream, too. Have you ever known me to pass up ice cream?

Now, they do ship their products (not ice cream, of course) but you can check out their website at I’m SO glad I went, and I SO recommend a visit – in fact, I think I’m going back later this month when I visit Salt Spring with a friend who is hopefully coming to visit!

I’ll leave you with this shot and a toast to the beauties that Canada has to offer from coast to coast to coast. I know the pandemic has had very few pluses, but one of them has been forcing us to explore our own treasures. Here’s to you, Salt Spring (with fruit juice!).

And I’ll be back, not on Thursday, but Friday with a special good-bye to a friend who’s taking a huge step that day. Talk to you then.

Rob WhiteheadTuesday, August 3, 2021
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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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