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.