Saturday, August 20, 2011

Riding with Children...the best way to go

I have a good friend who has four children, three girls and a boy with ages from 6-13. This family enjoys biking and have found great bike trails even though they live in suburb of Ottawa with a growth rate that could rival bamboo. You go to bed and in the morning, there is a new shopping center where once there was grass!

Last week I went biking with them. It was delightful. The youngest told me all about the things they see, like ducks and deer. We did see a deer. We stopped and picked wild grapes and I told Joanna that although sour because they stained your hands red they were like blood. We enjoyed our blood berries. The deer that we saw was a handsome buck, lying in a field in the sun. When he saw us he rose and galloped into the nearby woods but not before we saw how glorious he was!

The bike path meandered through sun dappled woods and enabled us to avoid traffic. I learned all about the ipad and the new ipod from Nicole's son David. His older sister, Rachel filled in the details as we spoke about future plans, art and school.

Even Mary who normally is uninspired with matters of bicycle was inspired and I watched as she spun her pedals, weaved and wove and kept up with all of us, her bright robin's egg blue helmet glinting in the sun.

All of Nicole's children were pleased to tell me all about the bike trails and where they stop. Joanna was especially pleased to tell me that the rest stop was the Dairy Queen where there would be ice cream. We ordered the same, a chocolate dipped cone! The others ordered blizzards!

As I rode, I realized that I miss a lot when I ride. I would have missed the buck, probably not noticed the large bunches of wild grapes, have whizzed by the sun playing on the leaves. Cycling with children reminds you that in life it is not about the destination, in this case ice cream, but the real joy is getting there. I enjoyed listening and entering into their world. I learned that my 4 year old ipod is completely and hopelessly outdated. It is the electronic equivalent of a slide rule! I learned about the latest movies, what to avoid (Green Lantern) and what to rent and even purchase (Thor). I learned that 3D movies are not worth the lineups and the hype and I was reminded the kids can go to a waterpark get spun around like a dishrag and spit out of a tube and actually enjoy it.

To any who may be getting bored with the bicycle...ride with children...you will hear and see things that you would otherwise miss!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to eat a treat!


Having dogs is a great thing and I have learned so much from my dog. In particular my dog has taught me how to eat a treat. When Bubba gets a treat, he takes it to a sunny place, carefully puts it between his paws and savours each bite. He chews thoughtfully and smiles. My other dog Sophie inhales her treats! Sophie does not take the time to enjoy any of her meals.

How many of us are like Sophie? I have seen people at bakeries buy a wonderful treat, a croissant with almonds and chocolate or a lemon tart and simply stuff it into their mouths without savouring it, or appreciating the texture and taste. They eat it furtively, feeling guilty for purchasing a treat in the first place. They mutter something about diet, as it that were a prayer, and stuff in the pastry. They do not enjoy it! They eat it in a few gulps, swallow some coffee and then dash off.

Bubba is right folks. Treats are meant to be enjoyed, to be eaten in a quiet place and while you are eating think about how fortunate you are and how wonderful this experience is. If Bubba is not ready for his treat, he will hide it and take it out when he is ready. How many can do that with a triple chocolate treat?

I used the word treat rather than pastry to stress that a pastry or ice cream is indeed a treat, a gift of the bakers and of tradition to us. It is a delight to our taste buds and a pleasure. We do it an injustice if we merely stuff and run!



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