Lain's Log

I will never forget!

June 30/11

This will likely sound very bad, but for SO long, it seems I've been doing what I can for everybody else. Maybe it's time for ME baby! - (LOOKOUT!!)

Tonight, stopped crying over the sale of Mum's house, threw caution to the wind and did something special that I wanted to do! - (with the help of the beyond-phenomenal Jaymz Bee of 91.1 Jazz FM, my favourite radio host, and the incredible performer Don Francks! - On the same bill! - TOGETHER! - What a combo!)

Two of my favourite men - Jaymz Bee & Don Francks!

Jaymz was hosting the Dominion on Queen event and asked me to join him at his up-front table with some other special friends. (thank you Jaymz. You have NOOOOOOOOOOO idea how much I needed this!) And how do you think I felt when you introduced me to Don as your "hot date!?!" - (haven't heard THAT expression in a while!) Wow.

Jaymz told me I looked "angelic". - (Ya, OK, I know only too well, he's EXTREMELY skilled in the art of flattery, - it's his special gift, - but I fell for it anyway! - What the hell, right?? - I'll pay you back now - You're an absolute doll Jaymz! - How's that?)

Will now put in a message here about my amazing husband, Sam, who generously offered to DRIVE me to Dominion on Queen, (so I could have some wine without worrying about driving home), then, snapped my photo out front, and left, feeling no qualms...(I don't THINK)...about leaving me in the capable hands of Jaymz & Don! Thank you Sam. You are unlike any man I have ever known!

I've adored Don Francks since I first saw him in the movie Finian's Rainbow, (43 years ago). As My Uncle Ev always said about me, "Once you're in with Lainey, you're in for LIFE!" - It's true!

I'm not heaping false praise on Don. He is truly a Canadian legend. Everyone at Dominion on Queen agreed!

When I arrived at the venue, discovered that the other front table was reserved by Mr. Doug Cole! OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!! Doug was the owner of George's Spaghetti House, (the TOP jazz club back in the '70's) I was in LOVE with the place and hung out there to see Moe Koffman and all the other great jazz bands at the time.

Don Francks insisted on dedicating his show to Doug Cole, saying, "You gave me a place to romp and play - many times!"

Carrie & I were great friends with Doug's two sons, Kenny and Jeff. I just about freaked to see they were ALL at the next table to us. Haven't seen them in decades, and yet, they remembered me as much as I remembered them, and they immediately asked about Carrie!

(left to right) - Our childhood friend, Kenny Cole, me, the infamous "Mr." Doug Cole, (of George's Spaghetti House), Jeff Cole (our OTHER memorable teen friend), & his wife of 28 years, - Chris

Hard to believe, but the musicians included Alex Dean, saxman extradorinaire, (whom I also knew when we were teens). He is the most incredible player. Between sets, I asked him what word he would use to describe "The Don Experience", after decades together. His response? -"Respect!"

MY word for Don? - unpredictable!! Alex agreed, saying, "With Don, - I don't know what's going on from minute to minute!"

The other performers tonight, - composer/arranger/conductor Steve Hunter (piano), Scott Alexander (bass) and Brian Barlow (drums). All fabulous! (I have SO missed jazz musicians in my life!) It was great to watch Don during all his band mates' solos. He seems more interested in THEIR performances than he is in his OWN. (As Alex told me about Don, he has a great respect for other musicians).

Don, ever-barefoot, always the rebel bandana around his head, those sparkling, twinkle-in-the-eye baby blues, - and he tops it all off with that powerful, edgy, crystal clear, emotionally-charged voice! As YOU would say Don, "My nerves have gone to pieces! - Play Misty for me! - And call the fire department!"

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Can't wait!!

June 29/11

(***note: New update at this end of this entry)

Quite a good day! Not only did we get word that the house deal is finally, officially a go, but I also heard that one of my favourite singers ever, Don Francks, is playing a rare gig tonight at Dominion on Queen, just a few minutes from my house!




I first discovered Don in 1968 when he starred in Finian's Rainbow (directed by Francis Ford Coppola). Don sang Old Devil Moon to Petula Clark while lying out in a field under the moonlight. That was hot! (I'm pretty sure he'll do that song tonight - Hope so anyway! - Don is now 79-years-old and sings better than ever!)

My old friend, Jaymz Bee (broadcaster at 91.1 Jazz FM), has invited me to join him at his table up front with some friends.

Thanks Jaymz! Can't wait to see you!

"Can't wait to be SEEN!!"

Jaymz is also a longtime Francks fan and has interviewed him numerous times. (as have I!)

Hope to get pics tonight with Don and Jaymz for the blog!

Have a good day everyone. (I know I will!!)


***Update - 6 p.m.

Back from a busy afternoon at Mum's - in & out of tears a lot. (what else is new?) Carrie and I spent much time cancelling various services for Mum's place. Each time we hung up the phone it was like one more loss. Everything shutting down before the final farewell.

Taking a break out on the back porch in between tears today. Only a week left and the Hidey Hole will be history.

Still, - really looking forward to tonight - doing something for myself - Don Francks! And Jaymz. Between the two of them, they should make me forget about pain (of all kinds) for the evening! Will write an update later!

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Misty watercolour memories

June 28/11.

Today is the closing day for the guy who bought Mum's house. He bought it with just one condition - that the house HE'S selling closes without issues on June 28th. Our agent says everything looks good. Still working towards our closing date of July 7th. Nine days and counting! One of our big jobs at the hidey hole today was tackling the dreaded basement closet! We had packed it with all Mum's old pictures, photo albums, very old Mac computer, university yearbooks, letters, files and on an on. (All the stuff that takes forever to sort through).

Since we're running out of time, we finally decided to give up on trying to sort it all out. Instead, we packed it all into my car to be taken to my garage where it will temporarily be stored.

By the time we stuffed it all into my car, it filled the trunk and all the back and front seats. (except for the driver's seat!)

Funny how today, we were surrounded by memories, not just of Mum, but also of our beloved grandparents, Mabel and Arthur Burridge.

We found the McMaster University "letter in a frame", given to the family when Grampa was officially (posthumously) inducted into the McMaster University Hall of Fame in 1984. He was the sports director there in Hamilton for many years (before he and Gram decided to launch their antique shop at Pleasant Point, north of Lindsay). We miss them so much even 30 years after their passing.

Later, while going through the pictures and photo albums, only one had me break down in tears. Hadn't seen it many years. It was a photo of Gramma with my cousin Kev, (her grandson) - (Kevan Staples of Rough Trade fame), at his wedding in 1981. She just looked so very happy, and so does he! She was the world's best Gram - (right Kev?) I told Carrie, "Just can't look at this album right now." Think it will have to wait for a day when the emotion of the house closing is wrapped up.

Carrie also found the original invitation to Kevan and his wife, Marilyn's wedding. It was a gold tube which contained not only the invite, but "gold flecks" that flew out of the tube when you opened it! (Kevan and Marilyn will celebrate their 30-year wedding anniversary in September!)

And what to do with the old doll's house? It's been in the family for decades and belonged to our late cousin, Ellie when she was young, so how can we part with it?

Among the items I'm taking home is the rusty old screen for the slide projector. (Just holding it brings back memories).

It belonged to my Dad (Rex Loring), and I can still remember him showing slides on it, even though he split with my Mum and left our home when I wasn't quite four-years-old. (will have to let Dad know we still HAVE the screen!) Another day, Carrie and I will go through the slides, one by one and figure out which to keep. (That should take care of another days of tears!)

After hours of work, Carrie took a brief break on the lawn, where we've been putting out items for anyone to take. The caning on this chair is broken, but she still found a way to use it!

By the time I got everything home to my place, I knew I needed help getting it all into the garage.

Luckily, my son Max and two of his friends happened to be at the house, and were kind enough to pitch in and come to my aid!

(left to right - Michael, Max & Claire) - Thanks gang!

Tomorrow, back to work again. One of these days, the job might actually be finished. That seems hard to believe right now!

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Photo day!

June 27/11

Carrie & I spent much of the afternoon dealing with something we've been putting off for weeks. Photographs. Mum had thousands of them. Many weeks ago, we ended up stuffing all the pictures, albums and tons of letters into a basement closet, but finally had to drag them OUT OF THE CLOSET in an attempt to widdle them down a bit.

The albums in the above photo, feature shots of Carrie & Garth's wedding - 30 years ago. Carrie sure was a stunning bride. You can see Carrie's pic in my left hand. Next to my right hand, (top pic), is Mum, being escorted down the aisle by Franc (brother of Garth). So many memories of that day. Carrie & I sat and looked thru countless albums, deciding what to do with all the photos. She came up with the idea of removing pics from the albums, since she already has copies of most of them. Then I could select the shots I want to keep, and the EMPTY albums can be thrown into the upcoming garage sale or donated to Goodwill. That way, we don't have to find places to stash heavy photo albums. There are SO many more pictures still to sift through over the coming days.

For some reason, my camera didn't take good shots of the sale items in Mum's house today. I am truly the worst photographer. Here's one of the den/spare bedroom, filled with oddities up for grabs. Looks like the sale will be on Canada Day! Not sure if that's a good idea as many people will be away. However, lots of others will be off work and might be looking for something to do!

We arranged to have a charitable agency come to collect some of Mum's old furniture soon. What we didn't know is, there's a pretty hefty cost attached to that service (even when you're DONATING items), however they issue tax receipts, which we can use next year. Looks like the pick-up will be July 4th - same day as my appointment at Princess Margaret Hospital with the radiation oncologist, and just 72 hours before the closing date! Never a dull moment, as usual.

Meanwhile, didn't get to post any pics from the weekend. My daughter, Kate and her friends are very involved in the PRIDE events. On Sunday, they attended the Stonewall TO march at Queen's Park and had a blast together.

Above is my beautiful Kate, who wrote on her Facebook page, - "Wearing a psychedelic neon dress + turquoise cummerbund + purple feather fascinator to STONEWALL TO! today, because I'm just that awesome." - Love it!

She and her pals ended up heavily sprayed with mega-glitter! (Later, they discovered it's practically impossible to remove)! - So, what the heck? Glitter on!

Cadence - covered in glitter! - Perfect, for her sparkling personality!

Great shot of awesome Arena, the divine Ms. Cadence and inimitable Emily!

Random colourful shots at Stonewall TO!

Kate's boyfriend, Damian, (also covered in glitter)! - Click pic to enlarge and see the "glitterishness"!

I really like Damian! Whatever Kate wants to do, he's into it! Good man!

Sparkle Arena, Sparkle!

Emily rules!!

Kate came home with a Stonewall shirt! (It cost 5 bucks). Good deal!

Coming up? Kate is looking forward to the Trans March on Friday, Dyke March (Saturday) and Pride Parade (Sunday)! - (Mayor Rob Ford, - you'd better get your act together and COME ON DOWN!!!!!!)

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Countdown is on

June 26/11

Back in the Hidey Hole zone for hours today. Running out of days. Was waiting on the front porch for Carrie, when she showed up with her son, (my amazing nephew), Lee. He's 16, a trained athlete, works out with weights and was ready for major-league heavy lifting! (Just exactly what we needed with a basement full of junk to be carried upstairs). Let's just say, we kept the lad busy.

Are they not adorable? - (as Billy Crystal says in City Slickers, "These FACES! I missed these FACES!!") - Love that line.

In the continuing saga of writing a blog that's kinda "out there," (at times!?! - ya think???), - here's the first thing that happened today. Carrie brought a few items to put out on Mum's front lawn, "for the taking." Among them, the cage which belonged to Teddy, (Lee's dearly departed guinea pig). It's been years since little Teddy passed on, so she figured - time to say adios to the old cage. Suddenly, I thought, perhaps we could bring the cage out to the backyard, place it next to Teddy's grave and shoot some farewell photos with Lee. Without flinching, Lee hefted the cage to the backyard for a rather random photo op with the famous "headless statue." (at this point, Carrie cracked me up by saying, "Let's just the put cage down and call him. - 'Teddy! Come on! - Get BACK in your cage'!" - (cue hysterical, inappropriate laughter from me).

Despite the laughs, I can still see that Lee misses that little guy. We ALL do Lee! - Hopefully your Gramma is keeping an eye on him someplace!

NEXT? - Carrie's been wanting to take a couple of shots of Lee next to Mum's birdbath. The history is, Mum always took pics of Lee beside the birdbath to show how much he'd grown each year. Sigh. Tears. Weep. Cry. Gak. NOW, he TOWERS over that birdbath! Carrie & I looked at each other and she said, "Mum would have loved to see this picture." Sob.

We spent a lot of time working in the basement, trying to empty it completely. Came across the famous Jean Pierce gift box. Our late Uncle Ev worked for the fashion maven for many years. Though they both respected each other's talent and expertise in the area of design, they had a tense relationship. One year, Uncle Ev gave a Christmas gift packed in a Jean Pierce box, but he added one extra word with a magic marker. After 30 something years, we still can't get rid of that box. (maybe you can understand why!!)

On top of THAT box, we finally had to get rid of the very LAST Eaton's box. Lee did the honours, tearing it apart for recycling. (another "history lesson". Uncle Ev worked as a designer for Eatons for years and was known as "Everett of Eatons.")

Rip it up real good Lee!

More items had to go out onto the lawn.

These antique things don't always sell. Goodbye to Mum's old Remington typewriter. Can't even COUNT the number of "TV scripts" I tried to write on this thing as a teen, hoping to make it to Hollywood! Never had it in me to actually move from Toronto to L.A., but my best friend, Franelle, DID, and won an Emmy for her work on the Carol Burnett show! I lived vicariously thru her success, but never parted with the typewriter - till now.

Another special treasure we could NEVER part with - a Garth Haines original painting! Garth was a longtime neighbour of Auntie Ray & Uncle Ev, and a master artist. Somehow, our family ended up with this stunning painting he worked on at our grandparents' antique shop decades ago - in the backyard of Century House. It was passed on to Mum and now, WE own a Haines original! (not even sure HE knows we have it!) It's a keeper Garth! Just gorgeous!

On the way driving home tonight, felt the need to blare music to feed "Intensity Entity" - (must have listened to my favourite song, The Quest by Bryn Christopher 10 times today! - maybe even 20, have lost count). "WHAT I'm gonna LIVE for! WHAT I'm gonna DIE for! WHO you gonna FIGHT for, I can't answer THAT!!" Smouldering there Bryn!

Got within three blocks from home on Broadview at Sparkhall (overlooking Riverdale Park), and saw "the bright light". I see it often, ever since Mum passed away. The brightest sunsets HIT me with such - (yes, INTENSITY), it's impossible to igore. Got out of the car to catch a shot, (but of course, it doesn't photograph as vividly as you see it in person).

I often feel (or I guess, hope, dream, wishful-think), that Mum, or maybe Uncle Ev, are sending me "bright vibes" to get us thru these final days before the house is gone. I'm picking up on something. Never sure what. But keep it comin'! Ten more days to go! Cheers everyone! Sending love your way!

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June 26/11

As Charlie Sheen used to say, "WINNING!!"
Just found out some cool news. Have been watching the results from the annual RTNDA awards (Radio-Television News Directors Association of Canada) in Halifax. FYI - after 49 years, the name is soon to be changed to RTDNA, (Radio-Television Digital News Association - The Association of Electronic Journalists).

Two old friends of mine have been honoured. I'm thrilled for both of them!

John Hinnen, Vice President and General Manager at 680 News, received the President's Award. John was one of my first radio bosses back in the CFTR days. He was actually in charge of sports when I started at 'TR, but later, became news director, and eventually, just took over the place! Hearing his name brings back so many fond memories of working in radio. Congratulations John! 680 rules! (well, when I'm not listening to NEWSTALK 1010!)

And speaking of NEWSTALK 1010, a special friend, Dave Agar, won the Byron MacGregor award (LARGE Market) for the 6 o'clock news - (LIVE at the G20)! This is his third national win. I first met Dave when I was 19, working at CFRB as a Good News reporter. What a fantastic summer that was, and it launched my life in radio and TV for the next 25 years. I was well aware even back then that Dave was the best in the biz, and glad everybody else thinks so too. (If by any chance you happen to see this Dave, heartfelt congrats! The buzz was in the air and I KNEW you'd win!) You SO deserve it. Hope your colleagues sing your praises on Monday!

As Dennis Miller always said on SNL's Update, "That is the news and I AM OUTTA HERE!"

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Life is for the birds!

June 25/11

A lot of my blog ideas hit while I've driving. Don't ask me why. The problem is, you can't really write them down when you're driving, (although, I've been known to pull over to do exactly that on numerous occasions, as I tend to forget if I don't jot it down immediately). Not this time. Didn't need to. There was no forgetting THIS idea.

I'd been shopping at No Frills. (where else?) Finished dragging all the packages, boxes & bags into the car. (that phrase made me think of The Grinch. LOVE the Grinch). Then, suddenly noticed SO many seagulls flying over the parking lot. The Gerrard/Carlaw No Frills location always has lots of seagulls, but this was ridiculous! I looked around, and no one was feeding them. So why were there so many? Of course, I always think of Mum when I see birds, as she loved them so. Sitting in my car, watching the birds, I suddenly channeled the Grinch. That funny memorable line came into my head.

"Then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea"! - (not that this was so awful, - just kinda funny).

Uh oh. She's got an idea!

It's percolating. LOOKOUT - Clear the decks!!

Thought I'd like to feed the seagulls some bread. - But I'm in the middle of a parking lot with all kinds of people who might possibly wonder what the heck I'm doing. Oh well! Got out two slices of bread from the loaf I bought. Ripped them into pieces and put them on top of the car. Got out the camera. Was standing there, waiting for fewer people to be around. Just as I was about to toss the bread, a car pulled up right beside me. A middle-aged man and his wife stepped out, glanced at me, spotted the bread on the car - and the camera. The man said to me, "You like seagulls?" I said, "Yes!" He responded, "So do I! My wife and I sometimes go into No Frills when they have a sale and buy four loaves of bread and then come out here to feed them." (what the hell? - Now I ask you, is this some kind of weird coincidence?? These people randomly pull up next to me, spot a bird lover in an instant and tell me they love feeding seagulls too?) The man told me he can sometimes throw bread up into the air and the birds will catch it! I said, "Can you SHOW me?" Without missing a beat, he grabs the bread and starts tossing! (my kinda man!) His wife was laughing, just watching the proceedings. - Introducing Erwin!

"Birdman Erwin" in action!

Couldn't QUITE nab a shot of a bird catching bread, but it was fun anyway! So my new friends are Erwin & Marie. We got into quite a discussion after I told them about the blog and the reason I'm writing it. Erwin explained that his brother is suffering from brain cancer and was told he didn't have long to live. He underwent radiation and started on a special diet - no sugar of any kind, pretty much macrobiotic, from what I could understand. He's in his 70's and still hanging in there. Erwin advised I should look into this kind of diet. I wished them both the very best and they wished me the same. Gave them the blog address so they can check out the seagull pics! Then asked Erwin to take a shot of me. (The crazy bird lady). - Hey Mum! You must be so proud! Hee hee!

Didn't go to the Hidey Hole today. Worked "from home".
There's enough stuff down in my basement to keep me going for weeks.

I have to make way for the piano we're inheriting from Mum's place, so, by myself, managed to drag a heavy wardrobe from out of Max's drum room to the back deck for the junk man to collect. Had to shimmy and shake (the wardrobe that is!) to ease it through the basement mess, but did it!

And there's plenty more where that came from!

Not exactly the most exciting day, but the highlight was tossing bread at No Frills. If you're reading this Erwin and Marie, thanks for the "lesson" and the laughs! Hope to see you again in the parking lot!

P.S. Erwin & Marie - if you want to reach me:


2:30 a.m. - P.P.S! - After posting this bird blog entry, was really surprised to receive a message in the middle of the night (thought I was the only one still awake!), from a "night owl" named Rachelle Desrosiers.
She told me she's been reading my blog and loves it (which means so much to me), and that this particular entry touched her heart as she loves seagulls! (did you hear that Erwin & Marie? We're not alone!)

Rachelle sent me a photo of herself, taken last summer at Woodbine Beach. She agrees with Erwin, that having a seagull grab the food from your hand is a blast! (although, Erwin prefers it when they catch it, mid-air).

Rachelle & her hungry bird buddy!

Anybody else care to comment or contribute? Would love to hear from you!

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