Lain's Log

Working backwards....(or backwards working?)

February 4/12.

Have missed a number of days here. Just so much on the go. Working backwards to get caught up!

One year ago today, I woke up and suddenly, in absolute sheer terror, discovered a lump in my breast. How do I remember the date? Because it also happens to be the birthday of my longtime friend, Bonnie Laufer-Krebs,

(my former producer at Global TV and only one of the greatest women I've ever met in my life!)

I'm sure Bonnie isn't thrilled with this connection, but that's how it went down. I woke up, thinking, calmly, I HAVE to call Bonnie, but instead, felt pain, touched the breast and went into total panic mode. Hyperventilating!

(Sorry, Bon, couldn't resist using this pic - you with a blonde wig and me with "Playmate ears"?  Thank you
Anne Brodie for this insane shot you took at your place one day over a wild lunch). Still makes me laugh.

Bonnie, I wish YOU the happiest birthday ever, and will keep my fingers crossed that YOUR birthday energy will keep me safe as I await my MRI (February 12th), and another biopsy, (God knows when, but soon).

On top of the above, today was also the celebration of a get-together with a special friend of mine (who always prefers to remain anonymous - but YOU know who you are!), PLUS the Celebration-of-Life for Rod Robbie, late father of my oldest friend in the world, Karen Robbie. (we met when we were 11-years-old)!

The event was staged at OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street. The Ontario College of Art and Design, which held a lot of meaning for both Rod Robbie and his wife, the late Enid. They were brilliant artists.

Rod really gathered a crowd. Some very high profile architects were there, plus lots of other friends and relatives.

Karen had the guts to speak at her Dad's Celebration, and never lost it for a moment.
Karen is a doctor in Michigan. She's been living there 20 years.

She drove to Toronto with her husband, Chris Hall and their beautiful daughter, Vicki,
(who is studying to be a nurse) to be part of this special tribute.

With Vicki & Chris at the Celebration of Life. I was so moved when the two of them took time to talk to me, asking that I please stay in touch with Karen, (because, they say, it means a lot to her), and to take care of myself. It was hard to hold back the tears when they put aside their own pain and grief to express deep concern about my health, weight, stress levels and on and on, asking me to email or call them anytime. I'm drinking Ensure now guys, and trying to get the weight back on!

The four incredible Robbie kids - Karen, Angus, Nicola & Caroline.

They each took a turn at the podium to speak about their Dad. I was astounded at their ability to do it so eloquently in the midst of all the emotion.

My favourite was the speech by Angus, (the youngest of the Robbie children). He told of his first memory (at the age of 3), when he looked out the window one cold morning and watched his Dad rushing off to work. He was known in the neighbourhood as "Rocket Rod" since he would practically sprint & leap to his car, then take off in a cloud of dust down the street. Angus thought the car was rocket-charged! He also said his Dad's jacket pockets were always stuffed with pens, bits of paper, napkins, notes and a wad of Kleenex. (sounds just like me!!) He joked that if any of them EVER needed a Kleenex, they knew where to turn, but then pointed out, all these things he carried around made him appear "a bit lumpy!"

Caroline is the only one of the four kids who followed in her Father's footsteps and went into architecture. She worked with her Dad for many years and told the crowd she learned from him, "Don't let work consume your whole life," but then apologized to her husband, Jeff and daughter, Samantha for having inherited some of  his over-the-top workaholic tendencies. Caroline is also the one who displayed the most emotion while telling stories about Rod. I can relate to her on that front. Bravo for getting thru it Caroline!

Nicola, (who amazes me with her good humour),

and Karen, presented equally beautiful speeches, but I was so overwhelmed at the moment they were speaking, I wasn't taking notes. I know Karen spoke about the fund the family has set up. The Enid and Rod Robbie Memorial Fund was quickly established to support print-making students at OCAD University (something Rod felt very strongly about). They've already raised over $7,000 and hope to bring in a lot more to help struggling young art students.

Rod and Enid on a trip to Greece together. Rod was busy changing the film in his camera. Such a cute shot.
Click here for info about the Enid and Rod Robbie Memorial Fund

Adam Vaughan (known for his work as a TV journalist/producer and for his politics), was a special guest speaker at the Celebration. His late Dad, Colin Vaughan was Rod's working partner until Colin passed away in 2000. I remember interviewing Colin MANY times when he was an alderman at Toronto City Hall and I was the City Hall reporter for CFTR. (Colin always "gave great interview!")

Adam told the crowd that the friendship his Dad shared with Rod Robbie was the most personal and profound of his life. He went on to say Rod faced many challenges that pushed him right to the brink but that he somehow found a way to create meaning out of tough times.

He also said that when you lose both parents, their friends give you back their lives by telling you stories and memories. I cried to hear his comment, because I know from the experience of losing Mum, this is true.

My late Mum at age 80. Friends DID share many stories and heartfelt memories about her with us, after her death. (I even received one today, - nearly 16 months after her passing).

I was glad my sister Carrie was also able to attend the event. She took many of the pictures I'm using here today. Due to my childhood friendship with Karen, Carrie often tagged along for visits to the Robbie household and got to know the family very well. Old friends are the best!

Carrie's boyfriend, Paul Nodwell (landscape architect and artist) was also there to celebrate Rod's extraordinary life.

Everyone was invited to sign the guest book, and of course, I couldn't let that opportunity pass me by -  (at the bottom of the page).

Rod's granddaughter, Emmanuelle, age 7 - (daughter of Angus), reaches out towards a screen caricature of Rod and tries out a little shadow puppetry. He would have liked that.

Another highlight was a brilliant video put together in memory of Rod Robbie and his famous work, which included Katimavik, the inverted pyramid design for the famous Canadian pavilion at Expo '67,

not to mention the Rogers Centre (SKYDOME!) - here - with Rod.

The final words on screen at the end of the video said:

Never lose hope
Never lose humour
Never give up.

As Rod often used to say, "Cheers to that!"

The rest of the past week has been taken up with appointments, errands,
grocery shopping,

great Delicious apples,

tantalizing tangerines,

did a lot of cooking, (shock of shocks, - actually prepared a stuffed pork tenderloin roast with a special sauce and made wild rice(!), housecleaning, banking,

running around hither and thither, practicing for voice class (and then finding out from our teacher, Jason Deline, that the big Tuesday class was cancelled until the following Tuesday February 7th). Noooooooooo! Have spent MORE days driving people crazy talking in weird voices all over the place. (yep, talkin' to myself again!) Somebody STOP me!!

Can't wait to see what the other "kids" in the voice class are going to come up with. We each have to do five different character voices. Gak.

The same night as the cancelled class, Sam took our son, Max to see Chicago at Massey Hall. Here he was, all ready to take off wearing a Chicago t-shirt made decades ago! When Sam was a teenager, he ran a summer silkscreen t-shirt making biz with his good friend Mitch.

This shirt was one of his originals! (What goes around, comes around)!

They went to Frans for dinner and then - ready for showtime!

From all reports, it was a fantastic production, and they had great seats!

Meanwhile, my sister, Carrie, continues to score big-time with HER popular Prickles the Porcupine voice!

She just posted episode 3 of her porcupine puppet/squirrel encounter on youtube. Hilarious.

Sure would love to be able to do voices the way SHE does! Latest word is, the squirrel has now embedded itself between the screen and the window and will likely be giving birth soon! So, be prepared for more porcupine updates, LIVE from the scene!!

Then, suddenly, my radio went frickin' crazy! I listen to it every morning during the shower/hair/makeup routine. Out of the blue, this dependable little radio REFUSED to allow itself to be turned off! It just kept going & going & going! (kind of like the infamous can't-kill-it-radio in the movie Groundhog Day, playing I Got You Babe to Bill Murray every morning at 6 a.m.)! Gak!

And in fact, insanely strangely, it HAPPENED on Groundhog day! - Weird or What?? -  (Thank you Shatner).

Seriously? The only way to turn it OFF was to remove the batteries every time and then put them all back in again when you want to listen! WTF?? So, it's a goner now. Sam ordered me a new shower radio (online), but I had to wait a few days before it arrived. No Dave Agar NewsTalk 1010 news, no 680, no Mike Bullard or Jim Richards, nothin'! (luckily, I could listen to Howard Stern on SIRIUS in the bedroom, since it's a whole different contraption).

Here's the new radio! Works great - and it's waterproof! Cool. And wet. Now I can get back to being informed!

(Remember, "If you're reading it, it's history! If you're hearing it, it's NEWS"!) - So 680 TELLS me! Bring it on newscasters!!

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At February 6, 2012 at 2:59 a.m. , Anonymous Elaine Loring said...

Yes, who ever you are. After writing about the Celebration of Life for Rod Robbie, my son seeing Chicago and my broken radio, I simply MUST go out and get myself a wholesale wig! LOL. This message made me laugh more than any other I have received since launching my blog, as it has absolutely NO meaning in connection with the entry. But thanks anyway! For now, I will stick with my REAL hair - at least, as long as I possibly can! Give me down to there hair!

At February 6, 2012 at 7:27 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad to say, but I think you were targeted re:spam. As a cancer survivor, you appeared on some ghoul's list! Men get spammed for cheap Viagra and tranquilizers. End up like Gumby with a pokey!!


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