Coping With Corona (or the act of avoiding it)

This sucks. I think everyone can agree with that statement right now. If it’s not the sense of impending doom getting everyone down, it’s the uncertainty or just plain boredom.

I have no answers for this. I wish I did. I just know how I’m coping, because that’s all we really can do at this moment in time – cope. Carlos has been helping his parents move all this week, so I’ve been pretty much left to my own devices.

So, here are the top 10 5 ways I’ve been keeping my mind and hands busy while staying home.

It was going to be 10, but then I realized that I’m not doing nearly that many noteworthy things. 

1.) Cooking.

A lot of cooking. There’s so much that can be done with non perishables and a few spices.

  • For dinner last night, I made a nice basic curry dish with canned tomatoes, coconut milk, dried mushrooms and onions and basmati rice. I cooked a frozen salmon filet in the sauce, but honestly the acid of the tomatoes will tenderize and cook down just about any meat.
  • I baked gluten-free peanut butter cookies using natural peanut butter, buckwheat flour, and honey.
  • Due to the lack of regular flour and dry active yeast in the grocery stores here (Germans will not be without their brötchen), the fun idea of making a cinnamon roll couldn’t happen. I settled on banana bread. However, I didn’t want to use up the little four I had, so I found a box of red velvet cake mix in my pantry, mashed up some old bananas, and got to it. Then I spotted the skull cake pan I brought over from the US and had a little fun.

I did my best with a batch of cream cheese frosting. It tasted wonderful,  though I’m willing to bet that no one will be hiring me to do their wedding cake any time soon.

2.) Gardening

I’ve kept a veggie garden for years, and I had plenty of seeds left over from last year. I also decided to take some succulent-type of herbs and such I bought at the grocery store to build myself an herb garden.

I use egg cartons for my seedlings. So when one plant gets big enough, I can just break it off from the rest of the ones that are still growing and plop them into a bigger pot. The roots grow right through the carton as it disintegrates, and voila!

For sprouting some of the herbs, I used these cool little skull bottles I found at a dollar (or I guess euro) store here last Halloween.  I also used an old maple syrup bottle for the same purpose. They’re both perfect for this kind of thing, with their sizes and the narrow openings and the top to keep the herbs from dropping inside.

I grew this adorable little sage plant that way.

3.) Finishing my book.

Good lord, my book. After combing through diary entries, old text conversations, pictures and every other token of my journey, the massive 4 1/2 year project that has kept me time-traveling back and forth through my life will finally come to an end this year. I now have a beginning, middle and end, it’s just a matter of polishing it up into something more palatable. With as much love, blood, sweat, and tears I’ve put into it, I need to have it done and off my mind so I can focus on more fun projects. Finding the motivation and mindset for this has been difficult, though, with these recent world events. But I’m plodding along.

4.) Unsolved Mysteries

Those who know me well are aware of my love for crime stories and mysteries. I swear I was a detective in my past life. Well, one of my favorite shows from childhood has found its way to Hulu!

In early 1987, I was 8 years old. Unsolved Mysteries debuted and had me hooked. When my mom took me to the grocery store, I would try to find people in the store who looked like the wanted criminals. You see, I was too young to distinguish the difference between the reenactment actors and the actual police mugshots and sketches. So I always found someone who looked, to my young eyes, vaguely like the fugitives. When we got home from the store, I would run to the phone and call their 800 number (1-800-876-5353, I still know it by heart) and report the sighting. In my determination to fight crime, I became a regular at their call center.

Because these were the days before the “call waiting” feature was common, this tied up the phone line for any calls my parents needed to take. One day, my dad realized that he missed an important business call due to my little project, and I was banned from using the phone without their permission.

Fast forward 32 years, I find myself falling back into that old habit. I can no longer call their number, as it’s been replaced with a website. I also highly doubt these fugitives have managed to get all the way over to Düsseldorf, Germany, so there’s no real chance of bumping into them at my local grocery store. But there are a few cold cases that have captured my interest, and I found myself digging deep into internet rabbit holes late at night to form my own hypothesis for each one.

If I manage to solve anything or find evidence that leads to the capture of a perpetrator, I’ll keep you posted.

5.) Writing Group Chats

As of March 18th, I took my creative writing group to Skype. Even though coming up with writing prompts we can do online has become a new challenge, this has been such a fun time! With the freedom of everything being online, I’ve extended an open invite to my writer pals in Cleveland to join our group. The 6 hour time difference has proven to be a little problematic, but it can be worked around. I hope to soon have a meeting combining Cleveland and Düsseldorf. Then we can take over the world. Or, you know, write short stories. Tomato tomahto.

Düsseldorf, taken at The Rhein

Cleveland, taken from Edgewater Park.

Well, those are my methods for staying sane. What are yours?