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I have taken some flack lately for being a blackened pit of worthless despair, so it seems only fitting that I should write about three good things that I experienced this weekend.  It’s me turning over a new leaf.  This one is bright and shiny and furtively curling up toward the light, while the last one was, presumably, a blighted husk filled with plant pus.

Kate Mior in the role of a Victorian windup toy. Me in the role of a pack animal for my daughter.

Happy Joy Item #1:  Meeting someone in person that you only knew by association.  My brother walks in a broad and varied circle of people in Toronto.  One of those people is an artist named Kate Mior.  Kate performs at all kinds of festivals and events, and my brother regularly reminds me to keep an eye out for her whenever we are out and about near buskers.  This time we finally saw her.  Kate was dressed up as a Victorian windup toy, complete with a rotating key popping out of her back, and she was fully in character as we arrived.  I introduced Abby to her as “Ben’s niece,” and, without breaking character, Kate gave me a wink.  It was a lovely little bit of connection in a disconnected world.

Happy Joy Item #2:  Cold beer on a hot day.  By the time that we had finished up at Buskerfest, Erin and I were feeling pretty wiped from the sunshine.  Abby was wilting a bit, we were cutting it close to her dinner time, and it was tempting just to pack up and head home.  Instead we decided that having a little girl that can now eat pretty much whatever we eat should make us a bit looser with our plans, so we ducked into The Thirsty Cactus and ordered up some drinks.  While Erin killed another little bit of my heart by ordering a Molson Canadian, I had a pint of homegrown red that couldn’t possibly have gone down better that afternoon.  Ben Franklin had it right: “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Happy Joy Item #3:  A baby that seems to live only to spread joy.  Abby is a happy baby.  She is also pretty cute.  And she loves people.  At The Thirsty Cactus, Abby put all of this on display and successfully slowed down the service in the entire restaurant by a good 25%.  Almost every waitress and manager stopped not just to smile at Abby, but to talk to her, ask questions about her, and play peekaboo with her while we ate.  Abby, for her part, indulged them all with infectious smiles , giggles, and some kind of strange “aw shucks” head tilt that she picked up in the last week.  It’s hard for me not to melt just a little bit more every time that my daughter brightens someone’s day.

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