Joy in the Time of COVID-19
Updated: May 25
When I'm not spending my time working, reading, or taking walks (Linear Park in Penfield, Highland Park cherry trees, Oxford St. magnolias), I've been trying to keep busy with other projects and creations that bring me joy. Hopefully some of them bring joy to others as well. Of course you all probably already know that my mom and I have been doing Ukrainian Easter Eggs on the weekends. Here are a few of the other things I've been enjoying:
The Book Store
Last year my friend Claire sent me this CuteBee DIY Kit to make my own tiny bookstore. I never got around to it in 2019, and boy am I glad! This was a perfect quarantine-times project! (Of course it only took one week, so I might need to get another one! There's a coffee shop I've got my eye on.) Starting with a box full of at least a thousand tiny pieces of wood and other materials, and multiple large sheets of paper with images to be cut out, I spent my time hunched over the table, with tiny scissors, Gorilla glue, and tweezers. I made a few edits as I went... for example, the floor was looking too cluttered, so I put the fern up on top of a bookshelf, and I didn't bother with the puffy red chair. I also didn't hook up the lights to the battery, as it didn't feel worth it to me. So, the lights don't light up. But the music box works! If you like tiny things, and have the patience for it, I highly recommend this project
The Little Free Library
I've been missing my local libraries and bookstores, and figured other people might be too, so I decided to create a Little Free Library in the mail room of my condo building. I love it, but I'll be honest - this is a bit of a disappointment, because it doesn't seem to have been used much. My neighbor Julie took some books and left others on the first day, and someone took the puzzle, but other than that I haven't seen much movement. I'm not hugely surprised. Sadly, there is really no sense of community in the building, and attempts to create it seem to fall flat. But, I still think it's cute, and hold out hope that it will get some use.
There is some lovely artwork and text out there that people have been putting up in their windows for others to enjoy, so I did the same. It's a little hard to see from the outside, but when the sun is out, it shines.
"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." -Maya Angelou
Of course I have been baking and cooking like crazy (though admittedly, some nights I just have a bagel with cream cheese and some celery with peanut butter). I've made cookies a few times, and many lovely meals, including salmon with potatoes and beet salad, and ham with sweet potatoes and roasted carrots (Easter meal!). In my quest for yeast, I was lucky enough to find a friend, Kirk, who was willing to part with some! So, I was able to make Pesto, Mozzarella & Cherry Tomato Pizza, as well as try my hand at Italian Easter Bread (this I made two times... the first was ok, but not very pretty, so I tried again). I also made French Fries from scratch for the first time ever, and Cheddar& Chive Scones using chives from my mom's garden.
Yes, I know, it's all carbs! Carbs are good for a pandemic, I've heard. ;)
I have to include this because it's the best game of Scrabble I've ever played, and maybe the best my mom and I have done together, too. See that word Quip off to the left? That one word got me 63 points! This is also the most spread out on the board I think we've ever managed - usually it all ends up getting kind of tied up on one side. My mom was left with two letters - a V and an I - and even though it didn't count towards her score, we found places for them to create Vex and Id.
Phone Calls & FaceTimes
When all this started, I decided to print out a map of the U.S. and try to talk to someone in every state. So far I have 18. If you live in a state I haven't gotten yet, let me know! I'd love to chat!
I've also been reading books to some friends' kids over FaceTime, and I made a few videos of myself doing so as well, to send to friends whose schedules don't always align with mine. You can also follow Writers & Books' YouTube channel to see me reading Alice in Wonderland chapter by chapter.
What are some of your quarantine-times projects? Yard and garden work? Puzzles and games? Cutting your own hair?! (I did give myself a little trim last week. Happily it did not turn out like Anderson Cooper's failed attempt.) Let me know what you're up to!
(All images by Tate DeCaro)