Monday, December 20, 2010

Savouring the Gifts -- A Child Leads the Way

While I had originally thought today's post would feature, in its entirety, the piece I contributed to Tish's lovely compilation of Christmas Gifts that cost Nothing, I've since decided that Tish's judicious editing worked very well. So unless there are legions of disappointed fans clamouring to read those discarded words, I thought we could consider Christmas joys from a different perspective.

Instead of being overwhelmed with Christmas stresses, piling up gifts under the tree to be torn open in an avaricious half hour, or stirring and baking and frying and chopping and mixing all our favourite foods to be devoured over one or two big days, I'm a fan of stretching out the little joys. I take my lead from a two-year old who, when first discovering the joys of the wrapped gift, is delighted to tease off the paper small piece by small piece. "I did it, Nana. I ripped it all off!"


Similarly, instead of trying to include everyone at our Christmas table or visit everyone over that one day -- oh, those early years of attending my family's Christmas Eve, then after having "our" Christmas morning together opening gifts, driving out to his family's Christmas dinner -- we spent the day with my mom on Saturday, taking her for a lovely long walk by the river and then out to the IHOP for lunch. Then Sunday we treated Pater's parents to a delicious brunch at Stanley Park's wonderful Fish House Restaurant with our three daughters, two of the partners, and Nola. Since the older folks don't host family gatherings anymore and live a bit far out for the kids to get to easily, those generations don't get together often enough. A lovely meal together, dressed casual-festive, in a wonderful setting (heritage building with vistas of surrounding parkland) -- what gift could surpass this celebration of family well-being and good fortune?!

Grandparents kept saying "Oh, the grandchildren are so good-looking" "Their partners are really nice, aren't they!" but especially, "That Nola is so smart" and "Isn't that Nola cute!" -- in other words, a gift that unfolded slowly. . .
Today, I'm meeting my sisters for drinks and then dinner. Yes, there will be some nasty forays into too-busy shops before that, but I'm hoping to get in and out before the worst of it, and I am pretty focused on what matters. I'm going to savour choosing a book for each of our kids and partners, and hope that it can be opened with this much anticipation . . .

I'm also going to remember that the gift itself isn't the important element, although I will choose as carefully as I can. Rather, it's the company in which we will open it, the feelings of love that, if we're attentive to what really matters, will accrue to the season for little persons like Nola -- who can keep teaching the rest of us the joys and gifts of Christmas

For years, when people would ask if I were ready for Christmas, I would answer something like "It's coming whether I am or not" signalling that I would cope with the day whatever my level of readiness. Now, I think I'm more likely to say that it's already here and that I'm making the most of it. The religious significance of Christmas is an important part of my upbringing and cultural background, but the date itself, the one-day celebration of Christ's birth, is a fairly recent construction historically. I still love the treasures of that one focussed Eve and Day, but I'm already beginning to open the Gift. After all, learning from a very small child is part of the meaning of Christmas, no?

How about you? What Christmas gifts are you already opening?

The Best BMW HP2 Sport 2011

An additional pressure sensor in the front brake circuit permits more sensitive brake regulation and prevents the control unit from As an option BMW Motorrad offers ABS especially adapted for sports use. With a dry weight of only 178 kilograms (199 kg fully fuelled according to the DIN norm), the BMW HP2 Sport Motorsport provides playful handling and great motorsports potential, be it on country roads or on the racetrack. This not only includes the self-supporting front fairing and the self-supporting rear made of carbon or the weight-optimised forged wheels, but also hidden details such as the lightweight generator used in motorsports. Lightweight construction was a major factor in designing all components.

The standard 2D dashboard, which stems directly from MotoGP racing, provides the rider with conventional information as well as with lap times and further motorsports relevant data. Optimum ergonomics are ensured by the adjustable foot rest system, the cast aluminium adjustable handlebar ends as well as the radial hand Magura instruments. The spring elements of the Öhlins sports suspension are fully adjustable and a Brembo braking system with radially bolted monoblock four-piston fixed callipers ensures optimum deceleration even in tough motorracing conditions. The equipment and suspension of the BMW HP2 Sport Motorsport also features motorracing technology. In order to reverse the shift pattern for motorracing if required, a respective substitution pressure sensor is available as an option.

A further exclusive racing feature is the shift assistant in conjunction with the closely synchronised gearbox which permits fast upshifting without having to operate the clutch or stop accelerating.  The stainless steel exhaust system runs underneath the engine and generates the inimitable throaty boxer sound from a silencer which is aerodynamically well placed under the seat bench.

New BMW HP2 Sport 2011

The flat twin engine The HP2 Sport Motorsport has the same technical basis as the HP2 Sport launched in 2007. In addition this exclusive special edition with the green and black start number areas on the seat body as well as the factory sticker set is visually very close to the successful BMW Motorrad Motorsport works motorcycle. The forged aluminium wheels are in Lupine Blue metallic at the front and Alpine White at the rear.

Like the factory machines the fairing, fuel tank, seat bench, front mudguard and engine spoiler are painted in the BMW Motorsport colours Alpine White, Lupine Blue metallic and Magma Red. The racing boxer took part in renowned 24-hour classics such as Le Mans or Bol d'Or. The HP2 Sport achieved numerous successes in scores of races all over the world in the past 3 years, among other things with the BMW Motorrad Works Team in selected Endurance World Cup races. Now BMW Motorrad is following up with the road licensed “HP2 Sport Motorsport” special model. Not only is the BMW HP2 Sport still the sportiest and most powerful series production flat twin of all time tailored to meet the needs of ambitious two-cylinder sports riders its numerous exclusive details used up to now only in motorsports which entered series production for the first time on the HP2 Sport are truly fascinating.

2011 BMW HP2 Sport Features When BMW Motorrad presented the BMW HP2 Sport in autumn 2007, a dream came true for many boxer fans.  In short: the refinement of the BMW HP2 Sport combines impressively high riding performance and exclusive visual appearance to provide maximum riding pleasure as you have never experienced it on a flat twin “Boxer” before!

New BMW HP2 Sport 2011

Exclusive motor racing features to be found in serial production for The self supporting front and rear sections in carbon, even lighter forged wheels and filigree components reduce the dry weight to an impressive 178 kg. For ambitious sports riders, the BMW HP2 Sport is the non plus ultra: consistent lightweight construction, excusive details and top class materials give it truly unique quality. With an incredible air/oil cooled 98 kW (133 bhp) and 115 Nm – a unique performance for a serial production “Boxer”!

An exclusive sports machine by BMW Motorrad for motor racing connoisseurs and 2-cylinder enthusiasts which puts racing expertise into serial production with power and authenticity. 100 per cent motor racing genes, licensed for the road. The result is the BMW HP2 Sport: the uncompromising realisation of the 24-Hour Endurance racer as a road machine. So it is an obvious step to build a high end version!

Outstanding race results are inexorably linked with BMW Motorrad’s flat twin “Boxer” models. Add a fully adjustable Ohlins sport front and rear suspension, Radial mounted Brembo Monobloc brakes, a lightweight carbon fiber aerodynamic fairing, not to mention forged racing wheels and tires and a MotoGP-inspired cockpit that computes lap times and other racing data, and the result is one of the most advanced sport bikes to ever scorch the tarmac. Making the HP2 Sport even more track-ready is new Quickshifter technology, which means faster gear changes without having to chop the throttle or use the clutch. For the first time ever, double overhead camshafts are included in our famous opposed twin cylinder motor, kicking out even more revs.  With a staggering 130 horsepower, the HP 2 Sport features the most powerful Boxer engine ever designed by BMW Motorrad.

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