Week 2: Everyone needs a Lori in their life



Lorraine at her 50th birthday party.


Lori and I first crossed paths in ballet class when we were about 8 or 9. I was the shy girl in the back row with the stubborn layer of baby fat and a case of childhood asthma. Lori was the girl with boundless energy and confidence. Even then she unselfconsciously took her place in the front row and pranced around like a prima ballerina.

Our teacher was a former winner of the Miss Montreal beauty contest and used her rhinestone tiara as an incentive to her students. After a round of trying to master the “pas de chat” leap, I’d be wheezing in the back. Lori, though, would often be rewarded for her efforts by having the prized tiara placed on her head of glorious, thick hair for the remainder of the class.

We met again in our first year of high school and became fast friends. By then, I’d outgrown both my baby fat and asthma but not my shyness. But shyness was no match for Lori’s contagious confidence. She could make you think that anything was possible.

We somehow ended up on the gymnastics team. We were strong and athletic but, honestly, far from graceful on the gym mat. That didn’t stop Lori from convincing me that we were going to the Olympics. We spent hours practicing in our basements or backyards. For us it wasn’t about competing – it was about dreaming big and having fun.

And our dreams weren’t limited to the Olympics. We were going to be the next Carly Simon and Carole King. Lori could sing, but it had never occurred to me that I could (newsflash:  I can’t). Somehow – and I still don’t know how this happened – we ended up singing together in the high school variety show. We were freshmen and almost everyone else was a graduating senior, but Lori somehow got us through the audition and into the show.

The great thing about Lori is she wastes very little time or energy worrying about what other people think of her. If she wants to do something, she just goes for it. A few years ago she told me, “I just realized that I’m a little person.” And she is. She’s not very tall and is one of those rare women who is actually thinner now than when she was younger. But because of her larger than life personality, no one, including herself, thinks of her as being small.

Lori married and left with her physician husband for the states not long after graduating from college but we always stayed in touch. Over the years, we’ve commiserated about divorce, the loss of parents, miscarriage, panic attacks and more. We’ve also celebrated the birth of our kids, milestone birthdays, friendship and life in general.


Lori (centre) with former classmate Sylvia (left) and I at our high school reunion.

Last summer we both went to our high school reunion here in Montreal. In the chaos of trying to get everyone lined up for a group photo, a loud whistle pierced the air. Of course it was Lori and when everyone turned to look at her, she said in her take-charge kind of way, “OK, everybody get in place so we can get this photo done.” As we all quietly moved to get in place, I heard someone say, “Well, she hasn’t changed at all!”



Reunion group photo orchestrated by Lori.


Cause that’s close to her heart:  Caron Foundation – for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation
They do amazing work and save people’s lives.  We need to create more awareness around drug and alcohol addiction.  This is a terrible disease that is so misunderstood.

Biggest Fear:
Dying!  Ugh…..I had my first panic attack after losing my father over 30 years ago, and they have plagued me for most of my life. Being a nurse and having medical knowledge does not help my situation. I’m certainly not as bad as I was, but every now and then, some sensation in my body will trigger the dreaded fight or flight syndrome and I just know this is it!!!!  Meditation, music, deep breathing, yoga and exercise have helped me immensely.

Guilty Pleasure:
The Bachelor and yes, I admit it, 50 Shades of Gray!!!  Now that I am in my late 50’s, let’s just say it’s fun and safer to live a little vicariously through the fantasy world of others.  🙂

What makes you laugh:
I love to laugh at myself, and my silliness.  The other day while I was working out with my trainer, we were trying a few new ab exercises on the stability ball which was a little to big.  I found myself in awkward positions or falling off, and it was hysterical.  Ok, maybe you had to be there.

Pet Peeve:
People who drive slow in the left hand lane of the highway!!!!  I mean really!  What is wrong with these people????  They belong in the right lane!  It’s even posted on the road! It’s against the law in most states!  It causes accidents!

And to conclude:
I think I am a very complicated person at times, and not everyone gets me. But I am very sensitive, loving and caring. I love to read, mostly for pleasure and escape. I cherish my friendships and can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than going out for dinner, having a glass (or two) of wine, and talking for hours.

I want to acknowledge my over 30 year relationship with Bob, my friend, my soulmate, my husband.  He has been there with me through the good times and bad.  His love and support, although often tested, has been unwavering.  I am blessed to have him in my life.

My children are TOPS on my list – while they are grown, married and will soon have children of their own, our relationship has changed, but it’s really much better.  There’s no other feeling than having your adult son or daughter wrap their arm around you, tell you how much they love you, and say that we should get together more often.  Now that is special!!






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