Sunday, December 25, 2011

Writing..a lost art?

Last week I was in Starbucks, pausing to have a latte and just relaxing with a friend. I noticed a young man beside me with a computer and a journal and an ink pen. I was delighted..he had the laptop with earphones but also had an ink pen as he wrote in his journal with flowing script.

Who knows what he was writing, poetry, reflections, perhaps his Christmas list, but it did not matter. What matters is that he was writing.

Writing is unfortunately a lost or dying art. Although there are many beautiful journals that are sold in bookstores and stationary stores, I have never seen anyone actually write in them except for this one occasion in Starbucks. What do people do with the journals they purchase? Maybe they write secretly at home, or perhaps they don't write at all, choosing instead to display their lovely leather journals over their fireplace as momentos of the lost art known as writing.

What the Doctor said...

Bubba, my 15 year old dog had been limping and cutting short his walks. He would raise his right hand as if to say "call it a day!". I arranged an appointment with an orthopedic specialist for dogs.

The vet took one look and told Bubba he had great muscle tone, was in top shape and his limping was caused by a slight strain injury that aging athletes have. Bubba was thrilled! He pranced out of the examination room and resumed his walks with renewed vigour, pulling and running and generally showing the world he is indeed in top form.

His new attitude has nothing to do with medication and I am convinced it is a result of what the Doctor all you medical professionals out there...choose your words carefully what you say has a direct impact on patient well being and recovery!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My own cat in the hat

Three years ago, after deciding that my high tech cross country skis afforded me NO control on hills, I bought a pair of back country skis, with metal edges lots of control. Two years ago I upgraded my snowshoes (yes the rawhide type) with racing snowshoes. So I can now run on the snow and ski to my hearts content...but there is no snow.

It is December 15th...the bleak mid winter of Christmas carols..and no snow. It was 9 degrees today! I did not even wear a jacket! A little too cold to bike, not cold enough or snowy enough to ski..and too wet to run. In the book the cat in the hat, the children were faced with this dilemma as all they could do was sit sit sit and they did not like it not one little bit. The cat in the hat came to entertain them.

My cat in the hat is a cycling and fitness training program called Cyclo Club. Like the cat in the hat, Graeme Street, the creator of Cyclo Club, produces workouts that look like fun ....but....

I am following 30 minute high intensity workouts which really challenge me. The objective is to get to your maximum heart rate..push it harder..go back to the max and repeat. At the end of 30 minutes, I am done and ready for a 15 minute recovery session, which is a lot of yoga.

The cat comes back!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The French vs the English..a study part one

I have had the priviledge of having my friend Marie from France stay with us for a few weeks. Her sojourn with us has highlighted what I believe are fundamental differences between the French and the English. They are as follows:

Food: For the English, food is a necessary evil. We hurry our meals and are content to grab a bite at Subways. This is demonstrated when I go cycling with an English group. With few exceptions, they seem to be content with fast food or food of marginal quality and then hurry the meal. Not so for my French cyclists. For them, I swear the meal is as important if not more important than the ride itself. There is no such thing as a hurried meal and food is savoured and enjoyed.

Now the French have developed different food groups and they are as follows:

1) Cheese. No day is complete without a healthy serving of good French cheese...on bread or on a cracker or a baguette...a Frenchman would rather lose an arm than not have cheese in their pantry. Cheese is an essential food group.

2) Bread. In the same way as cheese, bread is essential. Breakfast is a thick slice or two of bread, lots of butter and cheese.

3) Jam. This was a surprise to me. My friend, whom I will take as typical for my purposes loves jam and butter. While we anglophones may have a little French friend eats it by the jar full. So jam is a third food group.

4) Wine...French of course, but I did introduce Marie to Ripasso wines.

5) Coffee: Good, dark, strong espresso coffee. None of this watery coloured water that some people call 'coffee'. The French refer to this as sock juice!

Within these five food groups...the French can survive and indeed thrive. There is no need for fruits because that is handled by the jam. Vegetables are optional...and wine and coffee round out the rest.


The French don't believe in daily exercise. They are content to read the paper or get involved in an animated discussion. For the French, discussion is an animated activity designed to raise the blood pressure and followed by a glass of wine. I believe that the idea of exercise and working out is very foreign to the French. While the anglophones will purchase treadmills I have yet to see a Frenchman or woman on a treadmill in the gym.


France is a country of soft greens and lovely pastoral vistas. The French however, do not reflect these colours in their dress. They wear black, grey, grey again, more grey and white. I believe that our long winters make us long for colour in Canada and unable to see flowers...we dress as such with yellows, reds and greens. The French are arch conservatives in dressing!

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