Dexter's One Month

June 28, 2009

Today was Dexter's little Chinese banquet in celebration of his one month birthday. Please note the hilarious expression on baby's face. In Chinese culture a lady isn't supposed to leave the house for one month after her baby is born. Obviously these traditions are (in my opinion) slightly antiquated. I think a woman should be able to leave her house whenever she pleases, provided the weather is okay for baby, etc, and the woman feels healthy and energetic enough to do so.

I can understand why back in the day people would want to stay in for some time after the baby. Back in the day there were no hair dryers, clean running water that comes out of a tap in your home, or advil (just to name a few modern day aids). I remember my dad on the phone with me a week after Dexter was born. He asked me what I was doing and I replied that Dexter and I had just gotten home from a BBQ or something. He ranted, "No! The baby isn't supposed to go out for a month! You can't do that!" And I apologetically informed him that we had already gone out 3 times... so sorry?

After staying indoors for a month there is a big banquet in the baby's honour where people get to officially see mom and the baby. There is tons of food and baby receives lai-see from the guests. Even though I have been out and about, my family is still cool with celebrating this one month occasion.

My mom loves fawning over baby D.

The in-laws are likewise enamoured.

Don took this shot to capture the magnitude of Dexter's cheeks.

Mommy and baby D. He had just eaten and is digesting. He works really hard at digesting!

Bicycle Doppelganger

June 27, 2009

My darling Leanne just got her fabulous blue Electra a few weeks back, and she couldn't be happier. Actually, she was intending to buy it this one day in May. However, when we went to the bike shoppe it turned out the blue bike had been purchased just the day before. Scooped and foiled! She reserved another one in the next batch and was very pleased with its speedy arrival.

She has been enjoying it thoroughly ever since. Leanne usually rides a pretty one speed custom road bike, but with her new bike she is enjoying the glorious reality of putting her bag, belongings, and her shopping in a basket. No more sweaty back from a bike bag! Also, no more obstruction of the boobs from bike bags. I am quite sure I am not the only girl who has had this problem. Perhaps it bothers me more than most... but boob squishing from those horizontal straps is just unpleasant.

Anyway, Leanne has been loving her new bike. And it turns out her bike has a doppelganger that also parks at city hall! We're desperately awaiting the day when we get to discover who the beautiful girl is behind this dopleganger bike. A bicycle mystery... how intriguing!

Don & Dougal

June 24, 2009

Check my archives and you'll see lots of pictures of my dog, Dougal, hanging out in my bike basket as we cruise around. He's just the right size! Perhaps a tiny bit large, but he curls his bum at the bottom of the basket and uses his paws to steady himself as he rests his back against the basket's edge. If I'm riding my bike with one of the smaller baskets he just hangs his paws over the edge and sort of hangs out.

I don't like to make generalizations based on gender, but Don seems to think the cargo trailer is a more suitable Dougal-transportation device. Perhaps it's the possibility of massive volume that makes the trailer so attractive?

We actually got this trailer last year when Don figured it would be handy to have around for hauling a giant group picnic or... chairs and stuff to music festivals. He is way more in love with this thing than I am, and had a ball riding it around our neighbourhood as he took Dougal for a test drive.

I do suppose the cargo trailer is good for towing tons of stuff. Maybe this will be a good solution to big grocery runs? You know the kind where you buy dog food, laundry detergent, and tons of juice in addition to the usual fare? I actually don't go on many of these runs since I live close to several grocery stores and 2 farmers markets. I prefer to go on smaller, more frequent runs instead of, for example, a monstrous Costco visit.

Last summer when we were taking chairs and supplies to the folk festival we just did it on the Pashleys. Some bungee chords, rear carriers, pannier, and baskets were enough to get everything we needed from A to B. I don't think having a cargo trailer is necessary for being able to conduct life on a bike, but if you have a man friend who wants to ride around with a boxcar trailing behind his bike? Well, he can knock himself out!

It just occurred to me that maybe Don likes this trailer thing because he's also REALLY enthusiastic about all things train related:)

Weekend Bikes

June 22, 2009

Don and I decided to wear baby Dexter this past weekend instead of putting him in the stroller for our day of activities. The advantages to wearing the baby are that stairs and small spaces are less of an issue than with the pram. The only possible disadvantage with wearing the baby on such a hot day was that both Don and Dexter got a little sweaty and overheated. We just loosened up the straps and ventilated both of them a little.

Diaper and changing stuff went into the carrier's pouch. An extra onesie went into my purse, and off we went.

First stop was brunch at a friend's place. Brunch was really just an excuse to go check out the new apartment he bought - what a fabulous place! Very well laid out (does anybody else hate plywood buildings with dumb 45 degree angles everywhere?), and EXCELLENT location. Our place is 4 blocks from the train station. His is 1 block from the platform. It's like having a private chariot that links up our two properties. So good!

Next stop was the Bikeology festival downtown. Stopped by to check out the tents and activities, and snapped some photos of a few Edmonton girls with their bicycles.

I am so awful with names. This girl just recently became a reader of the blog - I love her tunic. Blue and breezy. And I think it was linen... I love linen.

This is one of those cutesy Electra Amsterdams that I referred to a few posts back.

This girl looked super cute in a summer skirt.

Finally we went to 104 street to browse through the market. We also checked out this store called carbon, a fantastic locally owned boutique stocking all sorts of environmentally responsible things for your house, baby, and renovations. Don and I are definitely going to be getting some reno materials from this place!


Pride Parade

June 21, 2009

Last week Don rode a red tandem tricycle with fellow city councillor Ben Henderson in Edmonton's pride parade!

After the parade we went to an outdoor festival on 104 street. It was hot. Don and another friend, Adam, decided to strip down to their undershirts on their tandem ride.

Finally, we had to get it back to the south side. Don had ridden it downtown by himself and it was quite a lot of work. On the way back we got my sister to do the tandem ride with Don since I had taken the bus with Dexter. My sister Sable is always ready to help out - what a gal!

Tandem trikes. Evidently the can get pretty fast if you're on a straightaway!

Slinging Dexter

June 18, 2009

All of you are no doubt now familiar with Sarah + Pashley and also, Sarah + Bugaboo stroller. I've been walking everywhere. Don bought me a bus pass for the month of June (no more Upass for me because my courses at the U of A are done) so I've been hitting up the LRT hard. I have recently cultivated a hate for people hogging the priority seating who don't need to park a stroller. They just sit there despite the handy stickers that clearly display a lady with a pram. I would like to take this chance to thank this one thoughtful, disheveled teen who yielded the seat to me last week - thanks!

Navigating the streets and underground transit system of Edmonton has been very educational. Having mobility issues (looking for elevators, etc) really changes the way I think about getting around. Hello lack of universal design! I reckon Edmonton is still better than many places, but getting around with the super stroller is not as straightforward has coasting up to a building and locking my bike to a tree or the post of a street sign. This is okay. My intention isn't to be whiney and complaining, I'm just advocating good design so that people of all degrees of mobility can easily access transit and likewise navigate the city intuitively.

Just like how I have several bikes, I seem to have amassed a plethora of baby transportation devices. I think this also relates to my extensive bike and shoe collection. There appears to be some relationship with Sarah Chan and a refusal to compromise on items that relate to her mobility. I don't know what I'm speaking in third person.

I like going places. I like to choose exactly how I get to those places and how I look doing it.

I love my every day bike (Pashley) for day to day life. You know, getting groceries and going out with friends... that sort of thing. Then I have the road bike for being light and going fast (admittedly I don't ride this bike as often because it doesn't have cargo capacity so I have to wear a bike bag or a purse that doesn't bother me when I'm hunched over). I have my beater bike for the winter. It's cheap and I'm not particularly concerned about the abuse it takes from the road. I've got the folding bike which is cute and mostly novel. It's handy for one-way trips and obviously, folds up very small and is easy to stash in a car trunk. Soon I'll have some kind of cargo bike for doing family stuff. Different bikes for different occasions.

I feel the same way about shoes. There are shoes (generally pumps) for trousers. Heels for all my pants that are hemmed longer or skirts that hit me below the knee and require extension on my feet to balance my proportions. Flat shoes. Peep toes. Wedges. Sandals. Flip Flops. Wellies. Winter boots for walking in deep snow with Dougal or when tobogganing. Winter to-the-knee high heeled boots to keep my legs warm (when worn under pants and when worn over tights/leggings). Formal shoes in both sandal and pump form. Formal shoes that have straps so my feet don't slip out when I wear stockings in the winter. Shoes with rhinestones. Mary Janes. The list goes on. And I haven't even begun to talk about these various kinds of shoes in different colours, patterns, and materials.

I am going to qualify that I DO wear every single pair of shoes I have.

And finally, back to mobility. The uncompromising feelings I have about shoes are the same feelings I have about being mobile with Dexter. I've got the bugaboo frog as our stroller. The frog is great for when I'm taking the bus. Another pro is that we bought an adapter so the car seat can click onto the frog's chassis. So rolling Dexter around in his car seat or the bassinet is very convenient.

I would like to qualify that I HATE the world of car seats. Did you know there is all this dumb fear mongering about getting the right car seat for your baby and how the plastic can't be of a certain age and how installing it wrong will all result in the possibility of your child DYING? There is a whole culture out there that is obsessed with the safety of car seats, when in fact, I think the prevailing issue with cars and safety is that people suck at driving (at least this is generally the case in Edmonton and I would gamble to say, North America). Cars crash because the people driving them aren't doing a very good job at simply looking around them when they're driving. All us cyclists and pedestrians are all too familiar with this reality.

Do I think kids should ride in a car seat when riding in a car? Sure. Do I think the industry is totally capitalizing on people's fear that their children are going to die? Absolutely.

So yes, we have a car seat for the car. My brother bought it for $100 on kijiji and gave it to me because he just wanted the base and not the seat. His daughter has since then outgrown her seat and we've also inherited the base. Yay for hand me downs! This is all information to illustrate that neither Don or I are particularly interested in spending a large sum of money on a car seat.

Onto baby carriers and slings. These things are great! I have 3.

The baby trekker. Takes the longest to put on (still haven't tried it by myself, usually I get Don to strap me in). It's not very pretty, but it's incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods of time and has handy pocket for sticking a diaper in or my keys and wallet, etc. It also has this handy drool cloth. You can also wear it in 5 positions and Dexter can be in it until he's absolutely huge. It's also adjustable so Don and I can both use it. Handy when you're only 5 feet tall and your husband is 6'4.

The cuddly wrap. It's soft and also very comfortable to wear. Learning how to tie it takes a bit of practice but I find this one easy and convenient to use when I'm out walking Dougal with the baby. It's also not as bulky as the trekker so it's handy for if I'm wearing Dexter around the house.

Z'fina. This one was a gift from our friend in Toronto! It's beautiful and super easy to use. I don't find this one quite as hands free at all times. You have to be more aware of baby and make sure the positioning is correct. This one is compact. Easy to put in his diaper bag and ready to deploy at a moment's notice. I'm thinking this would be the best one to take when Dexter and I are on bike rides, then I can carry him around when we get to our destinations without having to tie on the cuddly or clip myself into the trekker. It also comes in lots of different fabrics - very fashionable.

So there we have it. A variety of things to carry baby around so that he is snug and comfortable and able to take part in my daily activities! Now that I have my little arsenal of baby carrying items, Dexter and I can be out in the city with ease. The one thing I'm still missing is a suitable cargo bike. Coming soon...

Check out how happy mobile Dexter is!

ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability

June 15, 2009

The ICLEI conference is taking place in Edmonton all week - and so far it's been a flurry of interesting, hopeful people with great ideas about sustainable living. Don has been enjoying himself immensely. He has been meeting loads of wonderful people from around the world who want their local governments to start building and fixing up cities to reflect healthier, more responsible living.

I attended a session on bike-able cities this afternoon with Dexter. So proud, by the way, that Dexter has made it to his first conference on his 3 week birthday!

There were four speakers from Cape Town, South Africa; Australia; Rio, Brazil; and Hannover, Germany. Four very distinct places with distinct populations that have a common goal of making their cities more bike friendly.

I got a few main themes from the different presentations:

Infrastructure cannot continue to support the current use motor vehicles.

Driving is dangerous. Pedestrians get run over. Cyclists get run over. Cars crash into things because the drivers suck. People drive irresponsibly and often, too fast.

Cycling is considered a viable mode of transportation for people of lower economic status (I think this needs to change. The posh should likewise feel inclined to bike because it's healthy, responsible, and fun).

Education initiatives are key to getting people feeling safe on the road, and are especially important for kids so they can grow up being confident cyclists.

Building bike paths are substantially cheaper than building more roads for cars.

My favourite part was when Alfredo Syrkis (Leader of the Green Group, Rio City Council, Brazil) was giving his presentation and stated,

"Non biking engineers and architects produce idiotic projects"

Haha! So true. He also added that poorly devised bike lanes that are in no way useful to people who actually ride bikes, is often times even worse than not having a bike lane at all.

It's great that all these different cities are making cycling a priority in their city planning - let's hope we can see some good results from all this enthusiasm. Various orders of government, it's time to step it up! Funding... funding... funding...

One of the paramount concerns I heard discussed was the issue of safety. People don't think their roads are safe and in many cases, they're probably right. I know it's a tall order to ask people to start cycling given this climate of fear, but I think it's really important for every day, normal people (super athletes you need not be) to start making their appearance on the street. Biking is a culture, and changes in culture take time. Sure, it's unfair that us cyclists have to proceed with extra caution when navigating streets that don't have a strong bicycle presence, but without more cyclists, a working relationship between cars and bikes will never be achieved.

Another thing to note: motor vehicle operators should likewise drive and proceed with caution when they are on the road. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a car turn without shoulder checking. This happens even when I'm trying to cross the street pushing a big orange bassinet on a chassis... on foot. So don't give me grief about visibility, my experience is that people who aren't looking just are not looking.

So those of you riding. Keep on! Those of you who are afraid... try it. If it makes you feel better, you can always walk your bike across intersections, and don't forget to look both ways:) Also, get a bell and some lights.

Ride a bike. Change yourself. Change the world!


June 11, 2009

Here is Don and Dexter, walking for a red light to change so we could cross the street to attend a BBQ downtown.

Don is being a great dad despite his busy busy schedule. He pushes the buggy, changes the diapers, and give me back rubs! The only thing he doesn't do, through no fault of his own, is breastfeed.

Bike Salon

June 7, 2009

Hello Readers,

If you're in the Edmonton area and want to come hear me talk about fashion and bikes, I'll be hosting a bike salon for the bikeology festival this Tuesday. My lovely friend Leanne is co-hosting with me so you can expect both of us.

Ordinarily I would be riding, but with baby Dexter I'll be walking over or taking the train instead. Oh, if you come you'll get to meet the baby too!

Tuesday June 9th
7-9 pm
Parkallen Community Skate Shack
11104-65 ave

City Market

June 6, 2009

Auntie Leanne, Dexter, and I decided to stop by the city market this afternoon. It's truly one of the most fun things to do on Saturday during these summer months!

Leanne got some duck eggs and asparagus.

I got some dip and tarts.

Dexter and I took the train.

Leanne rode her new Amsterdam!

Sunny Sunday

June 2, 2009

I snapped this picture on Sunday at the local motion launch. I don't usually have my camera out and handy to photograph fellow cyclists. Usually when I do see a particularly beautiful lady, she's come and gone by the time I get to pulling out my camera!

I just thought this girl looked stunning. She looks so happy and easy going, just enjoying the hell out of her weekend.

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