Hanging In There…

 

C861E355-DE88-4066-8FA4-A34CA1511679

Hi Farmgirls! Wow! What a month it’s been! How are y’all doing?  We’re hanging in there. We live and work in one of the hardest-hit areas of Covid-19, but are happy to report we are all healthy! 

Still, I’m not going to sugar-coat things. Our schools were some of the first in the nation to close, the first week of March. Our entire town locked-down pretty quickly. Connecticut has many cases of Covid-19, and my husband works in Manhattan. Thankfully, his employers saw ahead of things, and he was working from home long before New York became a hot spot.

Still, it all seemed “surreal”, like the whole world fell off a cliff. Days at first seemed like the movie “Groundhog Day”.

Some days, ya can’t help but feel the “mood”.

Some days, ya can’t help but feel the “mood”.

One morning, shortly after the complete halt of life as we knew it, I walked past where my husband was sitting at the computer. I was still in jammies and my big, ugly red bathrobe, wearing no makeup and my hair wild- looking a lot like Beetlejuice. I suddenly realized that he was in an online meeting with his co-workers. SO EMBARRASSING!

I decided to pick myself up by my proverbial Farmgirl boots, put on my lipstick, and tie on my apron! Hang in there, Farmgirls! We’ve got this!

Though I grew up in Texas, I’ve lived most of my life on the East Coast. Three times now, I’ve experienced some of the darkest, scariest things that have happened to our country, right in my “backyard”. When my husband and I were younger, we’d often drive into “The City” on days off. We couldn’t afford dinners out, but found the lunch specials were reasonable in many popular NYC eateries. We became lunch “regulars” at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the original World Trade Center. We’d go on the same day, a couple times a month, having the same server. We lunched there just days before 9/11, with two of my school friends from Texas visiting.

Dining at Windows on the World, days before the tower went down.

Dining at Windows on the World, days before the tower went down.

I’ll never forget those days after 9/11- everyone, everywhere, came together. Eleven years later, the unthinkable then happened in our town of Sandy Hook. Again, the world came together, trying to comfort our little hamlet.

80DD1701-B9F2-4D7F-AF98-E14EB39B4CE3

Now there’s Covid-19, and we find ourselves surrounded by some of the hardest hit areas in the nation. Again, I think of Mr. Rogers, saying, “Look for the helpers”. Here is what I do know: we will get through this. It’s true, we’re in this together. Things will be forever different, and we will again have normal, but a “new normal”. 

Of course, there are fears and worries with this current situation. My heart breaks for all the doctors, nurses and other responders and their families. It’s difficult to see the death toll each day, knowing someone’s lost the battle. I worry about my far-away loved ones, many of them older; I worry about financial issues the world will face. I worry we will get sick.

However, I try not to dwell and worry all day. It isn’t easy to do – my daughter affectionately refers to me as “Worst-Case-Scenario-Mom”, and for forever my mom has told me, “The worst things you can imagine that could happen, probably never will. Don’t worry so much.”  Decades ago, I saw a decorative sign, paraphrasing a quote by Aristotle: “Choose Happiness, When Happiness is a Choice”. As my daddy always says when talking about something sad or out of our control, “It is what it is.” I think it’s important to find some happiness every day. I can’t control what’s going on, but staying hopeful is half the battle. 

Pip enjoys a moment in the sun.

Pip enjoys a moment in the sun.

One positive to come out of this situation is we’ve all slowed down. 

Without all the traffic in town, we see more wildlife out and about.

Without all the traffic in town, we see more wildlife out and about.

C5D1336C-7BB7-4A07-9260-CFD8D7722392

We often hear coyotes yip and howl, like they feel our collective loneliness.  This fresh print was found right after an early morning rain.

We often hear coyotes yip and howl, like they feel our collective loneliness. This fresh print was found right after an early morning rain.

It’s required in Connecticut everyone now wear a mask in public, like when going to the grocery store. I’ve left the house twice in six+ weeks, only when essential. Going out in public feels nerve-wracking, like being a lobster in boiling water.

When we picked up medicine at our vet for our pet with a chronic condition, I noticed, driving home, many people sitting on their front porches. It reminded me of the by-gone era where once everyone did that. I think my generation was the last to witness “porch sitting” as commonplace. It’s nice to see townsfolk waving to passers-by, especially during social distancing. 

On a walk, I saw this beautiful message drawn on a neighbor’s driveway.

On a walk, I saw this beautiful message drawn on a neighbor’s driveway.

We need more empathy, too. “Distance Learning” can be horrific for teachers, parents, and kids. My daughter and her high school friends are finding their senior classes more difficult to handle than in the physical classroom, and kids are all missing their friends (we miss ours, too). 

7798C449-24B6-454A-B8A0-9620BA5F1776

There’s a shared post going around Facebook, how the Senior Class of 2020 should not be so disappointed, but remember kids in the ‘60s had to go to Vietnam. My stepfather is a Vietnam Veteran, and I have the utmost respect for all who have served! However, there’s always someone, somewhere, who is going through or has experienced a worse situation. Even so, we shouldn’t diminish others’ disappointment or minimize their feelings. Empathy is a blessing. My daughter and her classmates are young, and have missed out on prom, seeing friends their last year together, the class trip, and may miss graduation, in the traditional sense. Our families are far away, and we’ll miss having them fly in for our daughter’s big day. In the big scheme of things, these are not earth-shattering events, but high school is hard enough, especially nowadays! Add to that the disappointment of missing out on yet more milestones and rites of childhood, while also having to worry about family, friends and teachers being affected by an enemy none of us can see. My heart goes out to the Class of 2020, and I’m so proud of my daughter for taking these things in stride and with such grace. 

Everyone reacts to stress and worry differently. Some right now are overworked, overtired, and many are putting their lives on the line to help others.

The quiet, especially at night, is at once spooky and peaceful.

The quiet, especially at night, is at once spooky and peaceful.

Some of us are stuck in a suspended “Twilight Zone” sense of time- doing our part by staying home, finding ways to pass the time and handle the worry. 

Mama Robin likes to feather her nest; so do I.

Mama Robin likes to feather her nest; so do I.

F4856DFC-95D5-41F7-B35D-C72B0049EA88

For me, I like to “nest”. I finally got around to painting my kitchen (it’s been 20 years since we last painted). I long ago chose a happy, vintage-turquoise blue. It’s nice to see it finally on the walls! It turned out so well, I used the rest of the paint for the laundry room. 

I never realized how dark the paint was in my little laundry room.

I never realized how dark the old paint was in my tiny laundry room. 

037998E0-BF36-4460-8C65-EF49C6580B8E

Keeping my hands busy keeps nerves at bay. I’ve been knitting and crafting, making do or repurposing what’s on hand. 

I made “wind chimes” by repurposing an old rusty sieve, soda bottle caps, twine, washers, and old measuring spoons.

I made “wind chimes” by repurposing an old rusty sieve, soda bottle caps, twine, washers, and old measuring spoons.

A little candle is made from a glass yogurt container, scraps of lace and old coffee beans.

A little candle is made from a glass yogurt container, scraps of lace and old coffee beans.

I took this little mass-produced Easter pillow I have had for twenty years, turned it over...

I took this little mass-produced Easter pillow I’ve had for twenty years, turned it over…

And turned it into this using a vintage doily and an old button off a suit my mom had back in the 90’s.

And turned it into this using a vintage doily and old rhinestone button

I’m organizing and cleaning. A friend of mine got a stomach ache from a cinnamon roll her teen made, with cinnamon long past the expiration date. Inspired, I cleaned out our spice cabinet, something I’d done not too long ago. I still found a spice jar expired in 1998! Yikes! 

I organized my ten-year collection of MaryJanesFarm magazines, utilizing old desk organizers I was given.

I organized my ten-year collection of MaryJanesFarm magazines, utilizing old desk organizers I was given. Now I easily can refer back to favorite articles and recipes.

67B9CC77-2FC1-4597-BC64-901D0342E61B

I started seeds indoors, with what seeds I had on hand. The garden will get planted, and I am hoping for extra to share. As Audrey Hepburn said, To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”.

3C93E470-92DA-49CC-9B53-C2933FB8145F

I celebrated my birthday. Though low-key, it was happy, with a sunny day, a long walk, and a cake made by my husband and daughter. They also made dinner and sat with me to watch my favorite movie, The Sound of Music, for the nine-thousandth time, with no hint of complaint. It’s the little things that really count! 

3C24D254-4C9D-4E83-8804-AD8142B334D6

Our family is relishing sitting to dinner together every night, something we don’t usually get to do more than twice a week. (If you have “littles”, enjoy every minute, even though it’s hard to balance it all. It goes so fast, and we can’t get time back).

34A55245-D3BE-4432-8F89-36B84DD62A81

Easter dinner together was the first time in awhile no one had on sweatpants (until dessert).

Just the three of us. Easter dinner was the first time in awhile no one had on sweatpants (until dessert).

The week before Easter, I was happy to share eggs with neighbors (social distancing, of course). We also dyed some and made deviled eggs, keeping with our family traditions in whatever way we could. I think it’s more important than ever to make things special when we can. 

My family is more introverted than most would guess, homebodies enjoying being together. We aren’t thinking of being stuck at home as a punishment, but as a gift. We’re doing things we always say we’d like to do, but never have time for. The”Honey-Do” list is getting completed. We’ve binged-watched almost every episode of “American Pickers”, and each evening we’re now watching a Marvel movie, in chronological order. Life currently is slower, but still busy, just in a different way. 

“There’s no  (safe) place like HOME”!

There’s no (safe) place like HOME”!

My hopes for when the “new normal” does happen are simple: I hope we emerge, a people stronger in spirit than before. I hope the world stays more united than before. I hope we keep deep appreciation for health care workers, farmers, truck drivers, retail workers, and postal and delivery workers. I hope we don’t easily forget what we’re going through, emerging smarter, healthier…with more empathy, stronger faith; having learned to make more time for what truly is important. 

Keep praying, keep the faith, and hang in there!

Keep praying, keep the faith, and hang in there!

Hang in there, Farmgirls! My heart’s with you. Let me know how you are – leave me a comment below

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs (virtually, and over six feet plus apart while wearing a mask), Nicole

 

 

Leave a comment 40 Comments

  1. Bonnie says:

    Thank you so much for the post. This is a very hard time but, like you, I believe we will come out of this stronger and more grateful than ever before. God bless you and your family.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Bonnie, thank you! I am glad you enjoyed the post. It is an unbelievable time we are in, but I do believe there is light at the end of this tunnel. Blessings to you and yours, as well. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Marlene C says:

    Love your wind chime. I’ll have to see what kind of useless junk I have that I could do that. Be safe world. Be kind people. Be.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marlene, thank you! It took minutes to make, but I think it turned out cute. I also took empty glass bottles from the recycling, put old marbles from when my daughter was a child in the bottom, and filled with colored water. I glued the same twine I used for the wind chimes around the top, and placed on my porch where the sun goes through. I love your comment, “Be safe world. Be kind people. Be.” Lovely. Stay well. Thank you reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Sharon Wegmeyer says:

    Planting “seeds of hope” too! This will be a first year garden on our new to us 10 acres: God Given Acres.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sharon! Good for you, planting a garden. I am sure you are excited if this is your first time planting! Congratulations on your new acreage! What are you planting this year? Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Kathy says:

    Sweet…blessings !

  5. Reba says:

    Hi Nicole, This is such an unusual time! We thought we were totally settled moving out to MT to be near our daughter, but her job took a turn (before the pandemic). Then she took a new job in NC in February. So during the pandemic we are having to move across country! It isn’t hard to social distance while driving a 26′ UHaul and Truck with Trailer in tow! We packed our own food, cooler, and only stopped for gas! We each had gloves, mask, and GermX in our cabs. So, like I believe true farmgirls know to do, we were prepared! We arrived on time, unloaded into a storage unit, then came to our rented, furnished, vacation home secured by our daughter. What a blessing!! We will be looking for a new home to buy (that has to have room for my beloved Hoosier cabinet), but for now, we NEEDED the time to rest! I am so thankful that all have stayed well, and that we could truly see the “supply chain” moving across the country with all the truckers out there! My family is excited that we are back “home” in the East, but we can only visit by phone so it still feels we are in MT. This time that we’ve been given is not one we would have chosen but knowing how farmgirls “make-do” helps get one through the tough times!! I am excited to hear of all the “new” farmgirls that are learning about gardening and canning since the pandemic! Many are making comments about doing things “like in the 40’s and 50’s” which I am so excited to hear! My Mom lived during those times, and she was my #1 Mentor as a true farmgirl…teaching me to make-do! Now I will have many “young” farmgirls to gaggle with! Stay well, farmgirl sisters!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Reba, WOW! What a story you have to tell! I am so glad you are all well and settled in. Absolutely, farmgirls know how to prepare and MAKE DO! Glad you made it to SC safely, and with your HOOSIER! Send a pic when you get it all settled in! Thank you for sharing and commenting. Much love your way! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Donna Kozak says:

    We’re actually enjoying staying at home and getting more done around house and garden – being a homebody has it’s advantages ! Love your kitchen…stay well !

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Donna, Love that. That is how we feel, too. My husband actually remarked that the next time the three of us will have this much time together, it might be retirement age for us! When restrictions do loosen up, time off won’t have to be spent doing things that are on a “to do” list as much! Stay well. Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Ruth Merritt says:

    Thank you for your uplifting blog. Keep up the good work.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Ruth, Thank YOU for reading and commenting! Hope wherever you are, you are well. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Ellen Ottoson says:

    One quiet day end of March I heard the beeps of car horns on the street in our neighborhood. I went to the large front windows and there was a long stream of cars parading down the streets slowly. They were the teachers of the nearby elementary, middle schools and high school. They had signs on their cars, “Mrs. Small says hello!”, “We all miss you!” I noticed the two elementary-aged children across the street were at the end of the drive with their mother and aunt waving a cardboard sign. Apparently they all were told on their school computer-site to be out there for the drive-by. At the long end of the car parade was a three-wheeled motorbike with a large Easter rabbit driving it and he waved at me! Behind him was the local Sheriff’s car whooping his siren now and then. Oh, it brought such emotion and tears to my eyes and heart. The reality of what is happening, and yet the ingenuity of people to make the best of it and still be in touch. I took pictures to remember this. We are thankful and grateful and well. I’m catching up with threading up my big floor looms and weaving. Here’s the “free time” we always wanted, right? Ellen

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Oh Ellen, How wonderful! You brought tears to my eyes reading this! I can just see the Easter Bunny waving! Love this so much. Thank you for sharing your story. Hang in there, Farmgirl! Much love your way. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Judy says:

    Thank you for sharing the journey! Your kitchen is adorable. Good to hear we are all experiencing some of the same feelings. See you on the other side of this, stronger and ready to go!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Judy, thank you! Things are kind of a wild ride currently, aren’t they? Hang in there, it’s all we can do for now. We will get to that other side! Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Denise enea says:

    What a beautiful story. I loved every sentence, very well written also. You have such a lovely home very cozy and welcoming.
    You are blessed to have such a beautiful family also,
    You sure did get a lot done, we’re doing the same here, have to keep busy!
    Miss you and hope to see you soon,
    Much love, Ed and Denise

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi guys! We miss you, also. Hopefully we will all get to see each other soon. Thank you so much for leaving such a nice comment. Can’t wait until this is over and you can head our way. Last year was so much fun seeing you and your beautiful home. Much love to you and your wonderful family! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Linda says:

    Thank you for your article and pictures. So cheerful!!!# Much needed right now. Linda

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Linda, thank you! I am glad you liked it. It means a lot…thank you for reading and commenting. Stay healthy! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Beverly Battaglia says:

    I love THIS BLOG. I will read it again. One of your best!
    Love,
    Mother

  13. Laurel Pries says:

    Very nice up-lifting post!! Such a wonderful attitude at this hard time. I am a 74 yr old Farmgirl at heart and am sometimes truly amazed at the insight and common sense you younger ladies have!! Great job!! And by the way lovely kitchen and laundry room paint job!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Laurel! Thank you so much. I always say I was born in the wrong era! But yes, we farmgirls are prepared and know how to make do! Thank you for reading and commenting, and hang in there! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Marilyn says:

    We [my two sisters and me ]are doing fine. We are homebodies and are keeping ourselves busy. We are reading and watching some television. I am throwing out a lot of things that should have been tossed long before. We have purchased some flower seeds and are waiting for six Pansy plants. I cut the front grass on Monday and my older sister trimmed the Forsythia bush. My twin sister and I only go out to mail letters. We order all of our groceries online. Congratulations to your daughter on her graduating. Happy Belated Birthday to you. Have a year of happiness and blessings. Stay safe and well.
    Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn! I am so glad to hear from you and hear you are well. Sounds like you are keeping busy. I have been reading, too. I recently joined a book club. Yesterday, we had a Zoom meeting to discuss the book of the month. It was nice to be together, even if it was just online. I have a few pansies planted, but have to keep bringing them in as we have gotten a few days of late frost! Thank you for the birthday wishes. Much love your way, may you continue to stay safe and healthy! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Linda Stiglich says:

    Thanks, Nicole. You hit “home” on a lot of points with me. I had just texted the “Groundhog Day” thought to my family before I read it in yours! My son asked me to make some face masks so I used up all the scraps I had and had to get innovative for materials. So although they’re not surgical grade, should cover if they implement the requirement for going out. I’m alone in senior housing apartment so do my visiting through the door. I still feel I’m in a sci-fi movie. Thankful for what I have and praying for those who don’t. Stay well, everyone.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Linda, It is like a sci-fi movie. I think one of the hardest things to grasp is not knowing how long this will last. I don’t think I imagined it could last this long when we first all closed up. All we can do is to keep the faith, hope for an end, and hang in there. I am sorry you are alone, but not in spirit! Stay safe, farmgirl! Much love your way. Thanks for reading and sharing. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  16. Melva Vick says:

    Love all the pictures. Your new paint is beautiful. Thanks for your message. It is very uplifting…which we all need.

  17. Pamela Frey says:

    Nicole, Love your kitchen: my favorite color and design/decor. THANKS for such an up-lifting post. So enjoyable to share your family including the adorable pets, experiences and hope for our future. These are CRAZY times indeed. Glad to hear all the ingenuity Farmgirls are using to get through these times. Very glad that Reba made it safely to the East. My Mom grew up during the Depression and being the oldest I was strongly influenced by her values. I am delighted that I have been able to pare down my stockpile in my regular pantry! I hear her voice every day with her infamous saying that I remember from my traumatic issues in the 50s until today: “This too will pass”. Stay safe everyone and sending love from rural Kansas. Pamela

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Pamela, thank you ever so much! I love this comment. Wise words from your Mom, for sure, and still holds true today. Thank you for reading and commenting. Hope you will visit here again. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  18. Jo Gill says:

    What an uplifting post! Your home looks cozy. Love what you did to your Easter pillow. I’ve been using my dehydrator a lot. When the weather cooperates, I am working in my garden. Lots of cleaning and organizing. Stay well.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Jo, thank you! I have to get my dehydrator out, too. I have not used it in awhile. I will use it more when the herbs are up this summer. Thanks so much for the reminder! Stay safe! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  19. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Richard read your blog and liked it this evening. Thanks for mentioning him and I. I am proud of your writing. Beautiful pictures and great comments that you received.
    Love,
    Mother

  20. Julie says:

    I enjoyed reading about your experiences…Laughing, making me feel like I’m not the only one, doing “unusual” things… Looks like you’re keeping busy…Really, the “virus situation” hasn’t been going on THAT long, but it SEEMS LONGER than it actually has been…

    Thank you for bringing a smile, some cheeriness and hope to our days. I will read this blog over again when “down the road” I feel like complaining…Thank you for helping us feel that there are Better Days Ahead…

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie, thank you for this lovely comment. This lockdown has seemed much longer, but it will, eventually, end. Hang in there. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>