Sunday, April 26, 2020

Only 24 Hours in a Day

One of my motivations to drastically limit my Internet use for 10 weeks (from January 4th-March 14th) was a desire to make more time for other activities and hobbies.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and there is only so much we can do with that time.  The mindless scrolling, the checking of email, the random searches - all of these add up.  Blogging and creating blog content takes up a lot of time too, and I was finding that there weren't enough hours in the day to do all of these things, and also to take up new hobbies, and dive back into old ones that I missed.

I have always been obsessed with learning new things, and I am not afraid of being terrible at something, because I know with practice I will improve.  People have said to Christopher over the years that he is lucky that he can play drums.  He always responds that "luck" had nothing to do with it; he worked his butt off to be able to play the drums, and he experienced the blood, sweat, frustration, and blisters that come with hours upon hours of practice. 

I've been asked how I learned to cook and bake, and although I sat on the counter with my mom as a kid here and there, the real way that I learned how to cook and bake was through practice.  Lots and lots, and lots of practice.  I have thrown out cakes that I screwed up and then immediately started again from scratch.  I remember making three loaves of cornbread in a row one day because the first two weren't good enough. (Fortunately, I have a human disposal system for the second-rate versions of anything I've made.)  I wasn't born with cooking or baking skills.  I just put many hours into doing something that I enjoyed and wanted to be better at it, and with time and practice, my skills got better.

This blog was a great motivator for me to press on with cooking and baking, to try new things, to experiment and take risks.  My goal was never to become a Michelin-Stared chef or even a chef at all.  Actually, the idea of cooking or baking for a job is unappealing to me.  I like having it as a hobby, and I like being able to share my creations with friends and family when I have the time and desire.  A sense of obligation seems to kill my motivation in the kitchen.

During my 10 weeks away from my blog and other online activities, I made a lot of time for reading, which was an old favourite hobby that I was really missing in the past few years. I started doing some other writing, jotting ideas down that had been swirling around in my brain for a while.  And, as usual, I cooked with Christopher:


On January 4th, the day I left the Internet for 10 weeks, it was +3C outside!

Christopher smoked some jerk chicken and threw it onto the BBQ, and I thought, wow, 2020 is off to an amazing start if it's January 4th and we're already BBQing.

At that time Covid-19 was barely on our radar, and we were looking forward to a trip to Japan in the Spring and many other fun activities for 2020.

I came back to the Internet on March 14th but by the end of March life changed a lot for everyone, with the announcement of Covid-19 as a global pandemic.  I started working from home, and instead of embracing some extra time to cook and bake and blog a lot, Christopher and I took advantage of the opportunity to just chill out, take care of ourselves, and to learn something new.

We didn't stock up on anything, but while grocery shopping at the start of this, we decided to eat simpler meals during this time.  We've been eating a lot of plant-based meals, with loads of beans, nuts, seeds, greens, and other veggies.  We used to cook quite elaborate recipes at times, which required trips to multiple grocery stores, and sometimes hard-to-find-ingredients.  Since we are limiting our grocery trips, we've kept our meal planning very simple, and have been winging it a lot, which is relaxing, fun, and low-pressure, but isn't really conducive to food blogging.  I don't have too much to say about our eats unless you want to see the same tahini spinach multiple times per week.

So, for a lack of blog content, I haven't been on here much lately.

Instead, I've been investing at least a half an hour a day to learning Spanish (I want to up this), and at least an hour a day to learning drums!  I have never played an instrument, but I figured my brain and coordination would benefit from the new neural connections of drumming, and it would be super fun and rewarding to be able to play something.  I could spend an hour a day scrolling through Instagram, and years later, I wouldn't have anything to show for it, or I could spend an hour a day practicing something new and the cumulative effect of that practice would be very noticeable years down the road. I am satisfied with my current cooking and baking skills and don't want to worry about finding ingredients for new recipes, and I am bored with spending all of my free time working with food, so I am putting that hobby on the back burner for a while, and I'm going to focus on learning and practicing new skills.

That being said, I do plan on checking in on here every once in a while, but I might post about what I've been reading, or how my drumming is going, or where we have traveled (when we can again), and sometimes I might post about food.  I have no rules for myself about how often I'll post, or what I will post about, I am just going to write when the mood strikes. 

How has your Covid-19, social distancing time been going? 
What is something you've always wanted to learn?  
What hobbies do you make time for?


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

When I was reading through your post, I was worried you were going to say you were closing the blog! So I am glad you aren't going to do that! I would be interested in seeing some of your plant-based meals as that might give me some ideas/inspiration. I am a bit worried about meat supply here in the states as several food processing plants have closed recently since they handled COVID-19 so poorly and sadly so many employees now have it. :( We have a decent amount of meat in the freezer and we'll be fine if meat supply dips. We love lentils and beans so I am sure I can get creative.

Social distancing has been ok... not great, but ok. I miss being able to go places and do things. Since I am high risk I really only leave the house to take walks with Paul. I did meet a friend to get a small table for Paul and we sat in the grass on blankets and had coffee/tea (sitting 6' away of course). That was really nice. But other than that, I've basically only been around Paul and Phil. Having Paul home with us has been really challenging, though. This is the 7th week of him being home, but we are sending him back to daycare on Friday. I can't keep him home forever so now feels like the right time. It's going to be a rough transition as he LOVES to be home with us... especially since he gets to watch a lot of his favorite shows. But I know school is so much better for him and it will be good to get him back on a routine!

Anne said...

I was also worried you were shutting down. I would love to read whatever you write, whenever you write it. And, I'd also love to hear more about your plant-based meals. I eat fish, dairy, and eggs, but not meat, so beans / lentils / tempeh / tofu / etc. make up a large part of my protein choices. And simple meals are the best!

I'm sorry about your trip, but glad that you are well and safe. Life here in the States is... frustrating at times, given the conflicting messages from, well, everyone who purports to be a 'leader'. I'm just trying to do what's best for me - and hoping that's enough!

Take care - will look forward to your next post, whatever it is on!