"Free time” has become a lot freer during the coronavirus.  No sporting events. No concerts or fairs. No big family parties. So how do you fill your new found free time? Netflix was okay for a while, but, really, what now?  Some of our employees have found ways to use their free time to relax and learn.

Picking Up a Brush AgainPainting of a boat on the water with a dock

Data Analyst Tanvi Sharma isn’t always a left brain person. She used to regularly paint, “but quit because life got in the way,” she says.  “I used to do all kinds of oil and acrylic painting, pot painting, glass painting etc., but got busy and stopped doing it.

“But during this pandemic, after seeing so many painting pics being posted everywhere, I realized I enjoyed doing painting. And after more than a decade, I picked up the canvas and started painting again. I know it will take some time to get back to where I left off.

Tanvi is bringing her young son with her on the painting experience. He’s been by her side, creating his own works of art.

Extra Time to Experiment with Food

Communications Coordinator Rory Keylon has always been a “foodie.” As such, she and her husband, Terry, would eat out once or twice a week. “That ended when everything closed,” she shares. But rather than let that get them down, they started planning meals together and even started putting prepared meals in the freezer for a day they’d rather not cook or when wanting to avoid the grocery store. “We’ve had some really good meals from the freezer with items we really enjoy like pasta sauce, soup and meats Terry has cooked on our smoker.  This was a lot of fun working together to make, taste and locate the right containers to put food up for another day. We even bought a Food Saver!” She adds that she and Terry have experimented with new recipes.  That resulted in “breakfast for dinner because what we thought would be amazing, wasn’t. This didn’t dampen our enthusiasm,” she adds. 

“We decided to try cornbread waffles since we have a waffle maker that doesn’t get as much use as it used to when there were kids at home. These are now a staple at our house, and I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to things you wouldn’t normally think to make in a waffle iron.”

Rory suggests trying these two recipes:

Waffles - https://www.kyleecooks.com/crispy-cheddar-cornbread-waffles/

Chili - https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/beefy-sweet-potato-chili/

More Time to Delve into History

Anyone who knows ATM Analyst Mike Jones know he love history. Springfield history. Illinois history. The history of the United States.

In light of the pandemic, he’s finding a way to use his love of history to help assure himself everything will be all right.  He explains, “History gives me perspective and hope that this nation has endured and will continue to do so.”

Mike continues: “We have met national crisis time after time since the founding of the republic and always found ways to grow and prosper. Some were bad days like Civil War and others during world wars where we crossed oceans to restore democracy and units of self-government. We as a nation never asked for anything, and when we’re done expending blood and national treasure, we went home.

“No nation ever expended so much and asked for so little.  We will survive Covid19 and become better for it.  I think Franklin Roosevelt said it best when he proclaimed on his inauguration day: “This great nation will endure as it HAS endured, will revive and will prosper.”

Mike concludes: “The best way to see the future is to look backwards.”