Fun Has [Not] Been Cancelled

July 29, 2020

Thoughts from May 17th, 2020 - This is an oldie from my drafts.

I wrote this on Sunday morning, initially just to get my thoughts out but then it turned out to be a good theme for the Sunday morning yoga class that I teach. I thought I'd share it here, in case it resonates with any of you. As always, take what sticks and leave the rest.

I went to the farmer's market on Saturday and while waiting in line to be allowed inside, there was a volunteer explaining the social distancing guidelines to us. A few sentences into their spiel, while recommending that only one person per household be shopping, they said that this is not the time to meet up in groups because, (and I quote), "fun has been cancelled".

That comment really struck me and I've been turning it over in my mind since. Not only was it said in a very firm, almost aggressive tone, but it's also just an incredibly staunch way of looking at this whole situation that we're in. My brain likes concrete concepts, so let's get literal for a second - Merriam Webster defines fun as "someone or something that provides amusement or enjoyment"; "a good time". Now let's dissect that.

Can fun really be cancelled? If fun is someone or something that provides amusement or enjoyment, I can think of a slew of things that I've been doing these past few weeks that fall under that category and still abide by social distancing guidelines. How about reading a book? Watching a pet play? Watering your plants? Eating a meal you made with your own two hands? Moving your body in an intuitive way? Having a good laugh with a partner or friends? Trying or learning something new? Sure, this pandemic has certainly put most of us more-than-a-little outside of our comfort zones, and a lot of us haven't been able to do things that normally bring us joy, like spending time in person with friends, going out to eat, or going to concerts. But even when a concert gets cancelled, the music still exists for you to listen to wherever you are.

Before I get too high on my soapbox here, let's bring the yoga into it. This physical practice that we do on our rectangles, it takes discipline. It requires showing up, and lately, setting up an actual space for yourself to show up in. Some days, that effort can seem enormous and heavy but we do it anyway. Why do we do this? I like to think y'all show up here for me, but I've said this before and I'll say it again, you are here for yourself. You show up for yourself because you know that on these rectangles you learn valuable lessons and, dare I say, you have fun! What are the concepts that keep coming up again and again in this practice? Mindfulness. Awareness. Being present. The three most valuable lessons you can take out into world with you. They serve us well on our rectangles but they serve us even better when we're nowhere near our rectangles.

Fun hasn't been cancelled, it just looks different these days. It requires a little more discipline, a little more awareness, mindfulness, and strength in being present. Showing up for the smallest of moments because those could be the ones that bring you joy today. This practice that we're all eternal students of, it teaches us how to endure, how to adapt, but most valuably, how to be present. In this presence lie the tiny sparks that set your heart on fire.

So thank you for showing up today, and every day. I know it's not easy, and sometimes it feels downright impossible, but you're doing the work and that in itself deserves recognition.

A few things I've been doing for fun these past few weeks:
  • Taking walks around the neighborhood at different parts of the day and noticing new things, or how things look different day to night. Meeting neighbors in the process.
  • My dad sent my siblings and I each this game and Shawn and I are now converts.
  • We can't go to karaoke, but we can certainly pull up a song on YouTube and karaoke in our kitchen! I'm not sure how much our neighbors appreciate it though.
  • I've been reunited with this game which used to entertain me endlessly when I was growing up. Truth be told, I'm more of a builder than a player.
  • Watching the cats play - that's entertainment for hours!
  • Teaching livestream yoga classes. It's a big part of what has been keeping me sane.
  • Meeting up with friends outdoors and enjoying each other's company from 6-feet away- sharing laughs and swapping quarantine horror stories.
  • Cooking/baking new recipes... though admittedly doing all the dishes afterwards is no fun.
  • Reading all the books.
  • Making random crafts with what we have around the apartment.


One Pot Pasta

May 13, 2020

This recipe gets a lot of show time at our house - I make it at least once a week. It takes almost no time at all to come together, and you likely already have almost every ingredient in your fridge and pantry. I honestly don't know what the best part of this pasta is - the fact that it's a perfect meal for those days you don't know what to make and don't feel much like cooking, or the fact that you get a full meal without having a sink full of dishes to clean afterwards. Especially these days, take it from me, anything that says "one bowl ____" in the title is at the top of my list... let's just not even speak about quarantine dishes.

This makes a basic creamy pasta - think mac n' cheese but without all the cheese. I love the addition of greek yogurt; we always have some around because we use it in lieu of sour cream, and it really shines here. It acts as the sauce, coating each noodle perfectly and adding a touch of acidity as well. Make sure to check out my note at the end of the recipe about other things you can add in for a heartier meal!

One Pot Pasta

(adapted from The Kitchn)
  • 10 ounces of large pasta (like penne, fusilli, etc) *
  • 4 cups of water
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • additional fixins **

In a large pot, combine all ingredients except for the cheese. Bring the mixture to a boil and then let simmer, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking. Continue to boil the pasta uncovered for 8-10 minutes, until most of the liquid has absorbed. Take the pasta off the heat and stir in the cheese and any other fixins. Leftovers keep for a few days in the fridge, just reheat with a little water added in.

* You could also use 12 ounces of a smaller pasta here (like macaroni or ditalini)
** The beauty of this recipe is that it's a fantastic base for any other ingredients you have laying around. Mix in some fresh tomatoes, or sauteed vegetables like zucchini, onion, spinach, or broccoli. Don't stop there- add in cooked bacon or ground sausage, perhaps play with different shredded cheeses or adding ricotta to make it a grown up mac n' cheese. We've also added in frozen peas and some lemon zest. Go ahead and have fun with it!


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