A virtual Passover, 2021 edition


Sunday, 28-Mar-2021

I can’t quite remember Passover from last year.

This blog reminds me that I took a bike ride, and that I found it to be gloriously relaxing and quiet – and that we supposedly did a zoom Seder the next day. I can’t quite remember it on my own though… I guess that’s part of why I keep this blog, right? To help me remember the details that I might have forgotten?

I don’t know how I should feel about not recalling Passover, though. The photos that I took do remind me a little bit of the ride, but only tangentally.

I miss seeing people in person, but that’s nothing unique to me – everyone’s feeling that way since COVID-19 locked us all down; I just find it more noticeable during the holidays.

Anyways, this year seemed fairly similar – a zoom Seder, with everyone calling in from wherever they may be at the time.

I took a few pictures, but to be frank none of them came out quite well – especially in comparison to how well the video Seder went. It was excellent – a bit chaotic, a bit confusing, and quite a bit different… but that’s how a family event should go, right? Everyone clamoring to catch up with everyone else, with the framework of the Seder itself helping us navigate the paths and plans of the event?

It was good – We all got to walk through the Seder together, catching up with everyone along the way. We read, we talked, we walked through the story, and then chatted as we ate the meal together.

It’s interesting to me, how much shorter events like this go when they’re virtual, though… Normally a Seder would last for a few hours, nearly being a half-day or a full day event. I mean, the Seder itself wouldn’t, but we’d spend quite a bit of time talking on the couches, relaxing during or after the meal, that sort of thing. This time, the entire zoom call lasted maybe two or three hours – definitely a long time to maintain focus, but shorter than it would have been had we been there in person.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing, or a good thing… just a thing. Something interesting to note – I wonder how next year’s Seder will go, if it is finally in person…

We talked, we ate, and then we signed off. It was a good day, and a nice window back into getting to see everyone in person again.

Returning to the climb


Friday, 19-Mar-2021

It’s strange, thinking about how long it’s been since my hands touched rock.

How many months have passed since I even climbed on plastic holds, since I’ve actually been rock climbing.

This sparks the question that came up while Sarah and I were still together – am I still a climber, if I don’t actually climb?

I don’t really have an answer for that, though it’s definitely an interesting philosophical question… can you define yourself based on your interest in an activity, even if you don’t participate? And if you do… should there be some sort of differentiation? Similar to the difference between someone who likes Football, and someone who plays regularly?


This blog isn’t really intended to dive into that kind of philosophy. Instead, it dives into me being able to ignore the question for the time being, because I’m climbing again!!!

Planet Granite, the main gym I’ve generally gone to in Portland, opened its doors for punch-card holders again earlier this week!!! I can’t quite rationalize a membership anymore, since I live 30+ minutes away, but I do have a few punches left in my punchcard… and since I had Friday off…

It was amazing, going back into the gym. Strange, and a little evocative of… something… but still. Sort of like coming back home after a long vacation, or something.

The routes were pretty much the same as I remembered, though I could absolutely tell that it’d been ages since I’d climbed… and that I’d had that back injury to boot. I climbed lightly, focusing on form and volume of routes – not pushing myself just yet, and instead feeling out my muscles and the holds. Letting my body slowly remember how to move, and how to fire off those muscles that I hadn’t used in so long.

It felt good – just like all the other times I’ve come back from a long hiatus, either due to travel or injuries, I still felt at home on the routes. I felt like I knew what I was doing, and that my body understood how to flow through the poses and the struggle against gravity.

It felt like I was a rock climber, even though I hadn’t climbed in so long…

Maybe that’s the answer to the question I posed at the beginning. Maybe being a rock climber isn’t so much how often you climb… but how comfortable you feel while on the route?

It’s not a perfect answer. But it’ll do, for now.

Strength and the gym


Starting March 17th, 2021

Gyms in Oregon have opened up again!

There wasn’t any announcements that I saw – Just one day, going for my run, I saw the lights on in the gym.

Like a barfly returning to a pub after getting kicked out, I hesitantly crept my way toward the door… the warm light calling me, and the clanking of weights beckoning from the quiet evening.

(Editors note: You can’t actually hear the clanking of weights from the first floor of Ben’s gym. I don’t know why he’s being poetic tonight, but please bear with him on his artistic license)

As I cautiously pulled open the front door, the gym staff called out an enthusiastic greeting. I returned it, and quickly learned that gyms had actually been allowed to open and this wasn’t just the imagination of someone completely sick of cardio… if you can call slow runs around my apartment complex, combined with 30min sets of dancing in the livingroom, cardio.

I started back in that very night.

I’d been thinking about what to do, once the gyms opened again, but didn’t quite have a plan laid out just yet… so instead, I lightly tested myself. I did a few reps of everything, feeling how my body reacted to the extremely light weights that I tested myself with. Bench pressing the bar, curling the lightest weights, squatting and deadlifting in the assisted machine, and even trying a few cable pulls.

Going forward, I’ll have a full plan laid out. A rotation of bench, lats, squats, and deadlifts. Bookended with cardio, to make up for the Saunas still being closed, and staggered out as best as I’m able.

Slowly, I’ll build my core back up, and hopefully (finally) fully recover from the pulled nerve that I got right at the beginning of COVID.

2021 is going to be a good year, I can feel it.