Keeping Up Isn’t Easy

I always have the best intentions of keeping up entries here but lately life has been getting in the way. It’s almost all really great stuff but it is also stuff that does not involve sitting in front of the computer.

Online I’ve been taking classes and doing workshops. Hindi classes happen every week for 5-6 hours but there are also improv classes and writing classes too. Tonight I start an online class in clown for improv and I’m really excited as I’ve done so little in that particular realm. And then on Sunday another improv class starts.

I’ve been cooking lots more and trying to avoid doing the easy thing of making a one pot meal and serving it in an hour. To that end I had a really wonderful opportunity a few weeks back. Quite some time ago after watching Season 8 of MasterChef Australia I followed Nidhi Mahajan, one of the contestants there.

Over time we became friends and after taking an online cooking class with another teacher I suggested that she might want to try as she’s such a great cook. We decided that we’d cook together and do a “pilot test” to see if it was something she’d enjoy. A few days before class she sent me a shopping list and noted what pre-class preparation I needed to do to make it go smoother. (No need for her to wait for me to chop onions, for example) The class was fantastic – the Indian cooking I do is mostly by following good recipes I found, but working with her I was also able to learn other bits of technique that a recipe can’t tell. For example, I always took my spices straight from the hot pan and put them in the grinder instead of allowing them to cool. Turns out that this can result in there being too much moisture in the masala and if you make a lot, that moisture may cause it to spoil earlier. Who knew? We ended up making a simple meal of bhindi (okra), dal and an apple-mint raita. The flavours were fantastic and the advice on technique was really so good.

The good news is that she enjoyed doing it and if you’re interested in having a workshop with her you can also message her via Instagram.

A few nights ago I made a meal of Goan fish curry and a potato dish based on the gravy for the bhindi dish she taught me. It was delicious!

Other than that I’ve been keeping up with exercise, going outside almost every single night. Over the past few weeks the days have been getting shorter so I have found myself doing much of my travels in the dark. Good thing I have bike lights!

Last night’s ride, with the skyline picture above was particularly lovely. I wasn’t sure where I’d go and so decided that if I couldn’t make a decision I’d go to the Leslie Spit – a big park at the south end of the city that juts out in to Lake Ontario. During weekdays trucks bring clean waste from demolition here (bricks, cement, dirt) and make the spit bigger. During evenings and weekends, all the roads are closed to traffic and it’s given over to cyclists, runners and most of all, wildlife. On the whole trip (about 15 km of riding around out there), I saw only 4-5 people and spent most of the time alone. At the southern tip you could just see the lights of New York State. So interesting to be able to bike to somewhere that you can see another country from.

I did finally have a couple of days of no outdoor exercise. But I have a good excuse. We had some crazy weather! One night we had 100-110 km/hour gusting winds that were so strong they made our home, about 400 feet up in the air, sway back and forth like a ship. It felt so strange!

With worries about falling trees and bits falling off buildings (in similar storms, freak accidents like signs being blown over have actually killed people), I just stayed inside. The next day the weather was a little less windy but still strong enough that staying inside seemed most prudent. But of course I didn’t let that keep me from exercise. I just did it virtually. Here I am riding in France.

Meanwhile, case counts have plateaued here, hopefully but are still very high with 1,200-1,500 new cases arising every day in Ontario. Quite a change from August when we were averaging around 100/day. Hopefully we will see some relief with a vaccine soon though the logistics of production and distribution may mean that even if we have approvals by the end of the year I suspect it will be several months before the average (meaning not front line worker, not particularly vulnerable / elderly) person is able to get it. On the other hand, if we’re lucky, perhaps by this time next year we may see a change. It’s going to be weird to no longer have to maintain some of the habits, like mask wearing and physical distancing. But other habits, like getting outside every day to see my city may just be something I carry on for years to come.

13 thoughts on “Keeping Up Isn’t Easy

    1. It was really excellent. A recipe can only carry one so far. Zoom works pretty well though, of course, not as well as in-person teaching. But that’ll be a few more months away at least.

  1. You are an inspiration particularly for Indians that you are trying your hand with Indian recipes and learning Hindi (really a difficult task for outsiders) at such an amazing pace.

    1. Thank you for saying that. I really appreciate it! Hindi is definitely a hard language for English-speakers to learn. Unlike, a romance language like French or Spanish, you have to think differently for it to make sense. I remember my first year of study, I would read a sentence and by the time I got to the end and found the verb I had forgotten the object and subject of the sentence. I would literally get dizzy. Now Sage laughs at me sometimes because if I have spent a lot of time speaking or watching Hindi, I will sometimes speak English in the wrong order. And on those rare occasions when I try to speak French Hindi words automatically replace the French ones I forget. Brains are funny things!

  2. So life’s has been getting in the way of blogging but in an interesting way. You’re doing such great things, adding new skills to your list. Skills that are hobbies too. Great going. I do keep getting a glance into your activities through Instagram. I’ve been quite irregular in WP too, but I have nothing productive to show as a cause. 😦

  3. I had another intellectually stimulating time yesterday morning. I am so grateful to you for putting together this book group. I bought “King Arthur’s Ghost” since I thought it sounded fascinating. I realize that as a man it is possible for you to cycle in the night. I don’t even take long walks after dark.

    1. It did sound interesting!

      Yes – definitely it gives me a bit more freedom. I know a number of women who cycle various places at night both in the city and in rural areas. Some have said that they feel a bit safer just having the speed and agility a bike affords. But it definitely has the potential to be less safe.

      Of course with stories like this, maybe it isn’t just women who need to worry. I didn’t see this when it happened and only just heard about it:

      1. Yikes. I think there are those kinds of threats from some of the homeless now too. Mental illness, drugs and political insanity is a bad combination.

      2. Same here – perhaps minus the political insanity. But there also is, I think, a strange undercurrent to our city. Mostly it’s wonderful, but when something does happen, it is often completely bizarre.

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