March 20, Day 4 of Shelter in Place

First I have to confess I am having hunting withdrawals. I miss my trips to my neighborhood thrift store (and my Sunday morning gang) and I can’t wait to be able to go out ferreting again at our local flea markets and antique stores. Till then I am making do with a little online sourcing, digging in my death piles and downsizing more personal stuff.

Finally got a couple of Etsy orders this morning! That spurred me on to list four things. Two are crucifixes that arrived by FedEx today from an auction I won two weeks ago. I bought the lot because of this wonderful primitive hand-carved one. Reminds me a little of wood santo carvings by Leo Salazar.

Called a dear friend who lives in a retirement community to see how she was doing. She’s in good spirits though life there has become much more restricted. So looking forward to a coffee date with her when this is over.

Sat out on our stoop to get some fresh air and sun. Spotted this little volunteer plant nestled amongst the shasta daisies. Not sure what it is (possibly a primrose), but strangely it gave me a bit of hope.

Decided to make rice pudding and we actually made that our dinner! Figured it was a fairly healthy, filling meal with its rice, raisins and milk and only a smidge of sugar. Cinnamon and vanilla gave it great flavor. Okay maybe not the most nutritious meal but very comforting.

In the evening the three of us gathered in the living room to watch TV together. Last night we tried the first episode of “Killing Eve.” Started another jigsaw puzzle.

Day four done.


  1. Greetings from Illinois. Thanks for posting from within this strange and frightening new reality. Our state’s shelter in place order, announced yesterday (holy cow, was it just yesterday?!??) goes into effect in 90 minutes. I’m over 60 (really? am I really? I guess I am – such a weird thought though! Like you, in my head I think of myself as thirty-ish) and live alone. I’m fortunate to be in good health, but the still distant and abstract knowledge that by sheer age I suppose I fall into a risk category feels surreal. I’ve made several trips to different grocery stores over the past ten days or so, stocking up. My admiration for the people who work there knows no bounds. They have all been working so hard nonstop for days and days now, and yet remain fast, cheerful, friendly, and unruffled. They are some of the heroes of this moment.

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    1. Was it surreal for you when they announced the shelter-in-place order? I couldn’t believe it when it was announced here in the SF Bay Area 5 days ago. You were so smart stocking up when you could. I wish I had been better prepared. And I definitely agree about those brave, diligent grocery store workers. And of course everyone in health care! There are so many heroes right now. (I’m in a higher-risk category too though I’m in denial about it.) Stay safe!

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      1. People here had an idea it was coming because we saw what was happening on the West Coast and in Italy, etc. It is still dizzying how fast everything happened though. Around March 10 or 11 news stories started appearing about people buying all the toilet paper. I was just out doing regular grocery shopping on the 12th, and it was so strange to see 90% of the paper goods shelves bare, as well as bottled water (which I really don’t understand), hand sanitizer, and bleach-based cleaning products. Everything else in the stores was very normal, but it was really feeling ominous. I haven’t been in the habit of keeping a stockpile of food in the house, but it was feeling more and more necessary to have much more of a supply on hand than I am used to. I started grocery shopping every other day to pick up things that would keep in the pantry. I started wearing gloves. Each time I went, more sections would look as if they’d been hit by locusts: canned soup, canned beans, and all the sugar. That one really surprised me. I guess people plan on baking a lot of cookies? By this time there was no toilet paper to be found in any store in the area. Really bizarre. On March 13, all the schools in the state were ordered closed. On March 15, all the restaurants in the state were ordered closed except for delivery and carry-out. Two days ago on March 19, a Chicago suburb 13 miles away from mine put a shelter in place order to take effect on Friday. I still can’t believe that was just yesterday. I knew then that it would expand to all of us very soon, but I still can’t believe how fast it was. Gov. Pritzker has been doing an admirable job of keeping everyone informed with press conferences every afternoon at 3:00. Yesterday afternoon at about 2:00 I was listening to the radio on my way to yet another grocery run (I didn’t want to look or feel like a hoarder, so I bought supplies a moderate amount at a time day by day), and the announcer said “And at 3:00 we’ll be bringing you Gov. Pritzker’s press conference. Word is that he is going to announce a shelter in place order for the whole state.” I went in to the grocery store with its partially-decimated shelves, its hard working employees busy restocking them, and its worried looking shoppers carefully trying to stay six feet away from each other, and I just wanted to cry. It felt like everybody methodically preparing for the end of the world. By the time I got back in my car, the announcement had been made: shelter in place order to go into effect Saturday at 5pm. And here we are. It is ALL surreal. I hope everybody stays safe!

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  2. Dancinginquestions, I think you summarized it well when you said you wanted to cry and it felt like everyone was preparing for the end of the world. I have felt that too. And everything has happened so quickly. Every day, every hour something new.

    I know we will get to the end of this virus eventually and life will slowly return to normal, but we will be a changed people. There will be a long healing process and this will leave a scar.

    I’m glad you have enough supplies. (I will need to go out again early next week.) So thankful for those grocery store workers.

    Blessings, Karen

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    1. Karen, I don’t know if you’ve seen this poem (it’s been making the rounds on Facebook). I find it deeply moving reminder of what is really important, looking both backwards and forwards. It often takes a shock to jolt us out of the universal human tendency to take the commonplace for granted. Right now is that kind of shock. Let us hope that whatever scars we emerge with bring some hard gained wisdom with them.

      When this is over,
      may we never again
      take for granted
      A handshake with a stranger
      Full shelves at the store
      Conversations with neighbors
      A crowded theatre
      Friday night out
      The taste of communion
      A routine checkup
      The school rush each morning
      Coffee with a friend
      The stadium roaring
      Each deep breath
      A boring Tuesday
      Life itself.

      When this ends,
      may we find
      that we have become
      more like the people
      we wanted to be
      we were called to be
      we hoped to be
      and may we stay
      that way – better
      for each other
      because of the worst.


      Laura Keelly Fanucci

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    1. WOW…love this poem!! So much truth. Thank you for sharing it. (I’m going to print it out. It deserves further reflection.) And well said that it “often takes a shock to jolt us out of the universal human tendency to take the commonplace for granted.” This is so true!

      Again, thank you.

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      1. Karen, thank you for sharing this part of your life with your readers. I really enjoy your blog posts, and am always happy to see when a new one pops up in my email. The internet is a wondrous thing. Random strangers connect and share all kinds of things, people whose paths would never have crossed before this technology existed. Reading your blog posts, enjoying your great finds and the fascinating info that you’ve shared about them, has sort of made me feel like you’re a neighbor with a beautiful house, leaning out of a friendly open window, waving hello to me, another neighbor on the internet just wandering by. Now all of us internet neighbors are suffering the same all-engulfing distress that has suddenly overtaken the world. That same wondrous internet that connected us in the first place is helping again, as we reach out to each other with whatever comfort and wisdom we can muster to help each other make it through. Blessings to you and yours.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you dancinginquestions for your beautifully written encouragement and support. You brought a smile to my face. I am certainly thankful too for the wondrous internet. What a blessing it is in helping ease the isolation.

    Liked by 1 person

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