My Good Deed Went Unpunished

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I’ve been struggling with this blog lately, for a few different reasons.  Firstly, the baby has been sick, she’s been teething, and I haven’t been getting much sleep or free time.  But more importantly, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want this blog to be.

At first, I thought this would be a good place to document my efforts to keep some balance in my life while looking after my baby daughter.  Pete and I have managed to do some biking, some banjo picking, some cottaging, some camping, and lots of other fun things we used to do before C made her debut.  I have to admit that it’s nice to keep a little record of our lives during this time, because it goes by so quickly and it can be such a blur.  I’m sure I’ll look back and be grateful that I’ve written these posts.

At the same time, blogging can feel self-indulgent.  I’d like to be blogging about how I’m contributing, in some way, to making the world, or at least my community, a better place.  I’ve always volunteered, and I’m beginning to think that I should direct some of my extra energy toward something positive and productive.  I’ve considered a few different options.

I’ve been mulling this over for the past few weeks.  I really want to be making a difference.  I want to set a good example for C.  The culture she is growing up in can be so narcissistic and I’d like her to be a generous, empathetic little person.

This was all in the back of my mind the other day when I went out to Dairy Queen to get blizzards for Pete and me.  Pete would probably like for me to point out that we have Dairy Queen about twice a year (the last time was on two-for-one blizzard day, which was crazy).  It was about 6:30 pm, but it had been extremely hot that day, and was still quite warm.  I pulled into the parking lot next to an orange car and when I looked inside, I could see that someone had left their dog inside with the windows up.  The dog seemed fine, but he was panting.  I went inside, looked around at the other customers, and hoped that when I went back outside the car would be gone.  But when I got my blizzards and went back outside, the dog was still there, in the car, with the windows still up.  I considered my options.  Go back inside and let the staff know?  They were all teenagers running around trying to take orders, and I didn’t think they would be able or willing to do much.  Ask around to see whose dog it was?  That was a bit confrontational, and the thought scared me a bit (there were a few rough-looking characters in there).  I decided quickly to just check the doors of the car, in case they were unlocked.  The front door was, in fact, unlocked, so I opened it quickly and tried to roll down the window for the dog.  The dog jumped into the front seat and for a split second I thought he would either try to attack me (he was a big guy and I was in his territory) or try to escape.  The window didn’t roll down easily, since it was a pretty old, rusty car.  I managed to get it down a bit and quickly closed the door again.  I jumped into my own car and as I did I saw a man set down his order on a picnic table near the restaurant and start to walk towards our cars.  I’m not sure whether he saw me close his car door, but he gave me a very intimidating look as he walked toward me.  My heart was racing.  I didn’t look away, though.  I stared right back at him.  This was a scary, scary-looking guy.  I quickly started the car, drove off, and vowed that I would never do anything like that again.  It was stupid.  I put myself at risk.

I’m not sure if there is a moral to this story or not.  I tried to do the right thing, but that poor dog is still living with that man.  I didn’t save it.  I put myself in harm’s way, and for what?  I’m sure that guy didn’t learn a lesson about animal care that day.  He didn’t have a Disney-esque change of heart and decide to do right by his dog from now on.

I’m hoping that the lesson I’ve learned is that there are many ways I can make a difference that don’t result in a frightening showdown in a Dairy Queen parking lot.  And I’m hoping that I can blog about those things here.  (I do realize that blogging about them is still self-indulgent, but hey, baby steps.)  Whether I’m able to do so mostly depends on C, and those pesky teeth of hers.

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A Bike Post from the Bikeless

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I thought that I should probably write something about biking, since this blog is entitled “Bike, Banjo and Baby” and I have written approximately zero posts about bikes.  However, I am currently bikeless, so a bike post is a bit difficult to conjure up at this juncture.

This is what a bicycle looks like, or so I’m told.

To solve this problem, I told Pete that he had to do some crazy stuff on his bike to provide me with some material for the blog.  I took this back almost immediately.  I need him able-bodied for parenting purposes.  He came home from downhill riding the other day with scrapes and scratches on his knees and stomach from “not falling off his bike.”  That’s about as exciting as I’d like his riding to get.

We are working on getting a new bike for me.  C is old enough to be towed behind us in her chariot now, so the pressure is on.

Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever owned a bike that was bought just for me.  I inherited bikes from my sister, and usually those were well-used and/or ill-fitting.   I once inherited a bike from her after it had been stolen from our garage, taken to a nearby park, kicked around a bit and possibly set on fire.

So getting my very own, brand-new bike is very exciting.  I’ll be sure to post a photo once we actually pick it up from Pete’s friend’s bike shop in Toronto.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep blogging about trying to maintain some balance in our lives with a baby in tow.  This weekend, we’re heading to Algonquin Provincial Park to take C camping for the first time.  I spent my university summers working there, and I’m really excited to be bringing her there for the first time.  So excited, in fact, that I looked up some Algonquin Park videos on the Friends of Algonquin website.  They’re not quite as inspiring as the video shown every 12 minutes in the Visitor Centre, or as instructive as the Ministry of Natural Resources bear safety video (pro tip: yell “whoa bear!”), but they suited my purposes.

And now for a quick question: does anyone have any mountain bike recommendations for me?

Suzuki commands, I obey

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Last month, I participated in David Suzuki’s 30/30 Challenge.  I did my very best to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day.  And since I’m home full-time with my ten-month-old, I usually dragged her out with me.  We got really lucky and the month of June was, for the most, part, beautiful.

Here are some of my favourite photos from the past month.

C and I joined some friends for our first trip to the zoo.  Of all the animals, C was most afraid of the pygmy goats.  Interesting.

C at the zoo. In the stroller behind her is of her besties.

C tried out the swingset for the first time.  There was a lot of leg-pedalling.  I think she thought that might make her go faster.

C loving the swingset.

We went to a party at the Early Years Centre.  Pete was mostly in it for the hot dogs.

Pete and C heading to a party at the Ontario Early Years Centre.

There was a bilingual outdoor puppet show.

Enjoying an outdoor puppet show at the Early Years Centre.

The next day, we went for a hike along a particularly beautiful section of the Bruce Trail.  We stayed up too late the night before, hence Pete’s sleepiness.

Going for a hike on the Bruce Trail.

C enjoyed the backpack for about ten minutes.  She’s already starting to get annoyed in this photo.

C tolerating a hike.

We got a break from the heat at the shady waterfront park.

Tummy time at the waterfront park.

This challenge did a great job of reminding me to take some time away from errands and tasks and busywork to just get outside and enjoy some quality time with my little family.  Life with a baby can be so hectic, and the time just flies by.  I’m hoping that I can keep this up and take a few minutes every day to get outside with C.  We’re starting July off on the right foot with a trip to the family cottage.

Happy Canada Day!