Through all the ups and downs that the Coronavirus pandemic has bestowed upon us, one thing has remained certain: limiting interactions and staying home is a powerful intervention that helps contain the virus and reduce transmission rates! As a team, we’ve been sharing recipes, resources as part of our social justice working group, and photos of our creative ideas to make the most of the summer during our pandemic downtime.

We recognize the privilege of being able to work from home, so rather than dwelling on the limitations that come with a global pandemic, we’d like you to get to know our team a little better by sharing what we’ve been doing to stay busy during these unusual times.

Paroma Chakravarty, Associate Consultant

“I’ve taken up embroidering in my free time. I have fostered dogs for a long time and have continued that during the quarantine. My current foster is Hank!

“We also go hiking pretty much every weekend with friends. Seems like the most socially safe activity to do right now!”

Chris Lombardo, Sustainability Analyst

“This year has taught me is to find the silver-linings, to look for the simple things that give me hope and happiness. I find solace in the sunny summer days, in the big empty parks filled with migratory birds, and on the clear days when you can see the Cascades, the Olympics, and Mt. Rainier all at the same time.

I used to eat out, play pickup soccer, and ride the ferry. These days I cook at home and picnic in the park. I haven’t played soccer since March, so now I run alone. My apartment is small, and we’ve started to grow indoor plants to brighten it up.”

Michelle Christopher, Senior Consultant

“Since quarantine, I have done a lot more cooking and baking. I finally pulled the trigger on the New York Times Cooking subscription and am exploring lots of new recipes. Some more successful than others… Some fails included focaccia and very difficult dumplings, while some successes were my butter chicken and my key lime pie. And after a few unsuccessful sourdough attempts and competitions, I finally dumped my sourdough starter.

I’ve enjoyed keeping up with HBO, Netflix, and Disney+ latest. Some favorites also include re-watching Great British Baking Show, binging Lost, and starting up new ones like the latest season of Dark and John Oliver.”

Kelly Ryan, Associate Consultant

“When quarantine started it still wasn’t the best weather in DC so the first month or so was filled with lots of tv (including finishing Breaking Bad for the first time!), cooking, baking, and board games with my roomies. My cooking and baking skills aren’t the best so I took this opportunity to improve them and it worked! I feel much more confident in the kitchen and made some very delicious things. The only issue with making 16 chocolate chip banana muffins in quarantine, is that I end up eating too many of them!

Once summer was upon us, I went to Albuquerque where my boyfriend is stationed. After quarantining, my parents made the 12-hour drive out and the next few days were full of outdoor activities including hiking and biking. I then drove with them to Redondo Beach, CA aka. Home Sweet Home, and got lots of surfing and more hiking/biking in. The highlight of my stay was definitely the “Pandemic Games” on the 4th of July, which was an Olympics-style event outside with my family and 2 close friends. Overall, I have found plenty of things to fill quarantine time and can’t wait until we can safely do even more with friends and family.”

Jake Mello, Commissioning Engineer

“We’ve been going back and forth between sets of parents, so we only get 2 days a week at home, in which we unpack, do laundry, mow the grass, and repack. We try to squeeze in something every weekend – we’ve been taking bike rides with the boys. Eric can ride his bike himself now, but for the longer trips, we found a double trailer that we can tow. We’ve also been camping and hiking – we went to West Virginia for the July 4th holiday. It’s possible to camp and hike socially distanced!”

Breanna Jackson, Sales & Marketing Project Manager

“I moved to Seattle the same week that the city shut down, so the last few months have been interesting, to say the least! I’m naturally a homebody, and being home has allowed me to use the pandemic downtime to get back into hobbies I otherwise had no time for, including painting, reading, cooking, and sewing. I jumped on the sourdough starter bandwagon and am proud to say I’ve successfully baked several delicious loaves. I’ve also been making a quilt for a friend, masks for my family, and teaching myself embroidery! I’m committed to finding peace in little moments every day and doing what I can to support the people around me.”

Paul Paladino, Chief Financial Officer

“I’ve been keeping busy painting! But lest you think I’m honing my artistic skills with oil on canvas, watercolors, or even a paint by numbers kit, it’s been on less glamorous media – 100-year-old plaster walls, concrete floors, basement posts and beams, old furniture pieces, and even the patio chairs… all low VOC paint and natural tung oil of course! Wielding a well-worn paintbrush, it seems nothing in or around the house escapes my eye for a color or stain upgrade.”

Paul Paladino Painting Project

Dan McColley, Sustainability Analyst

“Since COVID started, I’ve been working remotely all across the East Coast, surfing whenever I can. I’m originally from the seacoast of New Hampshire and am an avid year-round surfer (Yes! Even in the winter!). I’m currently spending some time in Palm Beach where I’ve been fortunate enough to fit in surf sessions on my longboard. Each weekend I’ll drive out to a new spot to explore different beaches (socially distancing of course) and surf whatever comes my way. Luckily, I had a friend snap a photo of me on catching some small breaks the other week at my usual spot on Palm Beach. I’d recommend anyone who’s near a beach with waves to give it a try! Its such a great activity to restore the mind and soul and is a nice way to get a little bit of exercise and outside time.”

Dan McColley Surfing

Deborah Hamamura, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing

“Aside from trying to educate my kid, working hard for Paladino, and taking care of my health, I’ve also become the temporary mother to 11 tadpoles/frogs. It’s been so fun watching them transition from fish-like to frog-like to full-fledged Pacific Chorus frog. They are tiny – these frogs could sit comfortably on a nickel – and they are adorable. We call them our “tadpals”. When I’m not tending to the frogs, I’ve been growing a vegetable garden with tomatoes squash, beans, onions, and peppers, and also a pollinator garden to keep our bees happy.”

Pacific Chorus Frog

What are you doing to keep busy during quarantine and your pandemic downtime? Have you learned any new skills or hobbies? We’d love to hear from you!

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