April is typically one of the busiest months for Friends of the Library President Marsi Steirer, when she is knee deep in books, logistics and scheduling volunteers working 40 hours or more a week to make the annual Book Fair happen. But with the COVID-19 crisis necessitating the cancellation of the 50th annual Friends of the Library Book Fair, her world, like the rest of ours, has come to a screeching halt. If you think she is sitting around doing nothing then you don’t know this high energy woman, because she has a list of projects that put my meager accomplishments to shame.
“These unique times call for us to embrace our creativity,” she comments. “I hadn’t sent my sons care packages since college, but not being able to see them right now, I decided to get baking.” Her sons and families are especially grateful for the most appreciated yummy gifts she sent of cookies, homemade breads, and citrus. Marsi laughs when she recalls that one son gleefully counted all the cookies like he was a small child hoarding Halloween candy. Besides communicating electronically, sending actual cards, letters, or goodies is a great way to stay connected with family and friends. Imagine how surprised and delighted the recipients will be. She has also been active on social media to stay in touch with family in Europe. When she learned her Hungarian cousin was having a baby girl, she discovered that Joanne’s Fabrics had online ordering and pick up service, so she was able to get pink yarn to make a baby gift to send. Seems like many are getting caught up on a variety of tasks including organizing and genealogy projects, and getting creative with knitting, crocheting, art and other mediums like mosaics and painting.
Many Coronado residents were already sprucing up their front yards for the Coronado Floral Association’s, now cancelled, annual Home Front Judging, so walking around the village, colorful flowers abound, as well as creative hopscotch and chalk art drawings that are popping up. “My husband Bill and I have lived her for more than 25 years and it is disheartening to see Orange Avenue looking like a ghost town as we take walks most mornings. I totally support helping local businesses in any way that we can,” she comments. She is also a frequent customer of Armstrong Nursery, where she can order online and go to pick up her order in the parking lot. Tomatoes and peppers are among her latest plantings. She is also happy to help businesses keep their workers employed.
Between keeping up on medical appointments for her husband, she is busy organizing recipes, which she admits to not having done for more than 10 years. She pulled out two canvas bags full of new recipes and clippings and organized them by sections into her existing 3-ring recipe binders. With both of her sons boasting good cooking skills, they were eager to have a collection of favorite family recipes, so she is also starting on that. She emails back and forth with the boys to get their feedback on the recipe index that is currently at 50, but that list keeps growing. All-time family favorites include Mimi’s Mish Mosh, Chicken Paprikash and Beef Goulash from her Hungarian heritage. “It’s rewarding to pass on generational recipes that will live on,” she comments.
She likes the idea that people are posting about putting different things in windows like shamrocks and bears. When I told her about the most recent effort to get hearts in every Coronado window, she quickly put two up.
Discovering how people are keeping busy during this time of crisis has been interesting and Marsi reports that she knows a couple who have been challenging each other as they tackle complex puzzles. Many people are either stress baking, trying new recipes or attempting a mystery box challenge with ingredients they have on hand. This is probably why baking supplies and other groceries are in short supply. People now have time to rewatch classic movies and new ones on the list they’ve been making for years, or binge watch many of the popular Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and other television series.
Marsi reports that she had more time to call and check up on friends who she normally only touches base with a couple times a year. She can’t wait until the quarantine is lifted and she can learn how to create mosaics from her FOL board member friend. She has many people on her list that she wants to invite for lunch to reconnect and help support local businesses. She will also have to get busy reopening the Second Hand Prose book store and organizing book sales.
We’re all in this together and it’s important that we take time to find joy in the littlest moments during this topsy-turvy time and emerge stronger, kinder and more creative, and possibly organized on the other side.