It is said that friends are the family you choose. If that is the case I have a wonderful family indeed. In my everyday life I have amazing friends, many of whom I have written about and alluded to on my blog. But every couple of years I have the good fortune to usher in the New Year with another group of friends. A crazy, talented, beautiful gang of people affectionately know as my Paddy Family.
As with most things in life, I met that group of people through a funny, serendipitious chain of events. Over 10 years ago I was working at an arts organization and met a man who introduced me to The Paddy Crean workshop. The Paddy Crean is a week long international workshop that celebrates sword fighting, stage combat, historical martial arts, stunt performers, actors and educators and is held at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Since I was living in Calgary at the time I thought “why not?”, and I went. And from that very first moment so many years ago when I stood in a dance studio surrounded by sword fighters and questioned my sanity (and which end of the sword to hold) I began meeting people who would forever change my life.
Most of the people from the workshop live in other countries and while we only see each other, if we are lucky, every two years they are true friends. Soul mates some would say. These are people who I sometimes think know me better than I know myself. A decade of workshops later these people continue to inspire me, boost my ego, teach me, humble me, learn from me and call me on my sh*t. They’ve seen me laugh, cry, pull my hair out in frustration, make a total fool of myself and achieve things I didn’t think possible.
This year was no different. With over thirty instructors and approximately thirty-two classes offered every day this workshop was one of the biggest yet. It never ceases to amaze me the vast range of knowledge and skills the instructors and participants have to offer. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and absolutely impossible to participate in everything that interests you. This year I had a great time teaching beginner rapier, myofascial release, functional movement analysis and the Highland Sword dance. But I had an even better time sitting in on classes, and learning more bullwhip tricks, how to fight with a tomahawk, some krav maga, a bit of boxing, how to wield a cape, swing a longsword and even shadow fight.
The best part is that in the corners of the hallways, after hours in the dance studios, and over drinks in the pub, the sharing continues long after the days classes end. For one week we live, train and eat together. And eat we do. Mealtime together at the Paddy Crean is about much more than just nutrition. It is about socializing, learning, sharing ideas and community.
Food, as always, brings families together.
I decided then that it was only fitting that my first blog post of 2013 should celebrate and say thanks to my fight friends. So with fond memories of breakfasts in Banff, here is my version of steamed eggs in a cup. The only thing missing is the bacon.
- one egg
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- grated parmesan or any other type of cheese
- fresh chopped herbs
- hot sauce
Fill the bottom portion of a double boiler/steamer with water and bring to a boil.
Place one egg in each cup (or small bowl).
Place containers in top of steamer and cover.
At about the 3 minute mark open steamer and sprinkle toppings on to eggs and re-cover.
Cook for an additional 2-4 minutes depending on desired hardness of yolks.
Enjoy with family and fight well my friends.