September 11, 2020

I'm Doing My Best

Or at least trying. I have wanted to sit back down here and catch up with you all but time passes differently these days. The minutes, hours, days, weeks and months seem to pile up without my having taken much notice. When something unpleasant comes up, I tend to think to myself, in the blink of an eye it will be over and in my rearview mirror. This can sometimes be a blessing, but often feels distressing. 

How are you? How are you coping? Are you making the most of quarantine? Are you full of anxiety over all the very difficult things going on in the world? Do you sometimes need to shut out the world around you and focus on the things you can control in your little world? I'd say all of these describe me but that last one is my constant companion.

Things here have been good, heartbreaking and everything in between. In June I lost my dad to cancer. I feel so grateful to have spent the last 10 years getting to know who he was and reconnecting, well, no, actually, just connecting for the first time. You can read my side of our story here. There are so many layers of loss with his passing, but I am truly thankful.

So here I am, after so many months away, trying to get back to life. I feel like I've been treading water. I have struggled to find time, energy or desire to do the things that give my days depth. That doesn't mean that I haven't done any of those things, but when I do, they don't feel as satisfying or enjoyable as they did. My enthusiasm for them has lagged. I picked up my camera for the first time the other day and could not remember how to use it. And today I literally could not remember how to get the photos off my new camera for this post and had no idea what was even on it. Life is weird. It turns out I had not uploaded photos since December 2019 which is okay because I've hardly taken any this entire year.

My days are full of gardening, cooking, cleaning, running a household and generally being the chief caretaker of all the things. Rinse and repeat. I often don't feel like I'm accomplishing much of anything other than surviving but that's okay. That's enough. I'm thankful for it. In fact I have a lot to be thankful for. 

My Sweet Man is still working from home and it looks like he will continue to for the next year. My baby girl was home for 5 months (and was honestly a pleasure to have around even though I mourned my empty nest) but has gone back to college and an experience that is in no way fun but she is doing her best and being so self sufficient- paying her bills, budgeting, working, getting to know her 3 roommates and working hard in her classes. My big girl started a new job that she loves, got a puppy and is getting married next month with the reception in our backyard. It's to be a very small affair and has been made very complicated by the current state of things. 

As for me, I have managed to accomplish a couple of things- the biggest of which is a huge garden project that I look forward to sharing with you as soon as I refresh my photography skills. I also redecorated Emma's room when she moved all of her possessions to her new townhouse. Other than purchasing a new mattress, boxspring, paint and curtain rod, I used things I already had which felt really great and my bank account heaved a sigh of relief! It's not what I want to do in there long term but we have some sagging floor joists that need to be seen to before we can do any projects that are more substantial around here. If it's not one thing it's another in an old house, but thank goodness we love her. 

Hey! Look! I blogged! It's hard to know where to begin, so I just began. There's a little song I've been singing to myself for the last 6 months which is just basically me singing "I'm doing my best" to myself over and over whenever I need to hear it. I need to hear it a lot some days. So I hope you enjoy these random unedited photos from 2020 because "I'm doing my best, I'm doing my best!"

Random things from the last 6 months:

-I got a new lift bowl mixer in the color milkshake and I'm smitten
-I grew so much food this spring and summer, some of it from seed
-I've got a sourdough starter and I'm loving the things I've made
-I rarely eat dessert anymore
-I'm currently obsessed with scones which aren't technically dessert as they have little sugar in them
-My health is good except for a low heart rate issue I'm currently seeing to
-Clover is finally calming down- although she has been pestering me since I sat down to write this blog post and it made me rethink that statement
-I'm still knitting. A lot! Mostly simple things throughout all of this but I'm now currently obsessed with colorwork
-I really need glasses and a pedicure but I'm trying not to go anyplace I don't have to. So readers it is.
-I miss magazines and the one time I went to Barnes and Noble their shelves were bare but I really want to try again because AUTUMN and CHRISTMAS
-The cats are finally (mostly!!) getting along with the exception of when Mouse is hangry. In related news I hide from the cats every day from 2:30-3:30
-We are currently only using one car and let Emma take the other to school and I'm actually liking that. Now there is only 1 car sitting in the driveway
-I'm in week 45 of my invisalign treatment and I can't believe how straight my teeth are
-Covid taught me not to care what myself or other people think about my thighs which finally allowed me to wear shorts
-I've tried to preview this post but blogger has changed and I can't get it to come up so who knows what will happen when I push publish!

Ok. I think we're caught up. What have you been up to for the last 6 months? 

Be kind to yourselves and OTHERS. And be well. This felt good so I'm going to try to come back again very soon. 

P.S. Ok, figured out preview but can't get my photos to center! Enjoy my left aligned blog post.


wordybird said...

welcome back!!

Janina said...

It's so good to hear more from you! I have loved watching your garden and backyard progress on Instagram. I am completely with you on the daily busyness that leaves me tired but unsure what exactly I accomplished. Certainly not more knitting, though perhaps I should pick that up again. Your beautiful socks make me want to try again as I currently have one sock all finished but the toe that has been sitting on my needles for the past five years (since I was last inspired by your sock posts.)

Janina said...

It's so good to hear more from you! I have loved watching your garden and backyard progress on Instagram. I am completely with you on the daily busyness that leaves me tired but unsure what exactly I accomplished. Certainly not more knitting, though perhaps I should pick that up again. Your beautiful socks make me want to try again as I currently have one sock all finished but the toe that has been sitting on my needles for the past five years (since I was last inspired by your sock posts.)

Christy said...

Hi Jen!

According to your instagram account, you have done amazing things these last few months :)

It is really nice to see a blog post from you. Yours is always one of my favorites.

I have been hibernating since March. I don't have any plans of leaving my nest until next year. Surprisingly, it's actually not as hard as it sounds. By late March I had subscribed to all of my favorite magazines and have everything from food, clothes, plants for the garden, books and art supplies delivered. Work, school and appointments are all online. Our home gym has been put to good use. Oh, and thank goodness for eBay...I am certainly missing my favorite thrift stores and flea markets, but, so far, so good.

At least as good as it can be. My heart hurts for everything that has happened this year. I have done my best to support the causes that can help those in need and get us out of this mess we are in.

I hope you find time and an easier rhythm in your life to pop in over here at The Cottage Nest more often.

Hugs to you my sweet friend!


Tania Valéria said...

Good to have you back! 😍🌺🌺🌺

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

So good to see your post. It has been a crazy last several months, hasn't it? We have been going on as usual. Gardening, cooking. My husband works from home anyway so that hasn't changed. We do have some big changes coming up soon and I am looking forward to that.

Jen Burk said...

I dropped everything and opened and re-read this post the moment it arrived. It is so good to see it - and you. I love all your pix, always, and the fact that they are random makes them even more precious because it's all part of your slice-of-life. And brings me comfort because most of my pictures (and many of my actions) see to come out randomly, too. That's life, isn't it? Thanks for always sharing your heart with all of use. You make me smile and I just love your decor and taste!

Ricki Treleaven said...

Welcome back to blogging! I was so happy to see you in my inbox this morning. The past several months have been difficult for us extroverts. I like your photography on this post! I need to follow you and Instagram and look at your projects. I have not been over there much because it seems like the only people who want to follow me are older very attractive men :/ It has been NOT FUN for me over there....

Kit said...

Hello! Glad you're back. I have found it hard to blog as much as I used to. I'm not really doing anything noteworthy. It was nice to see what you've been up to. I think a lot of us are just trying to maintain. I find I love not having to run all over town. And having all this time with my husband has been lovely. So for now I stay home and tend my house. And wear my mask and pick up my groceries without out going in. The new normal. You take care. Kit

Mereknits said...

SO sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad, that is enough to make things feel so strange and out of place but with a pandemic well that is all too much. Stay safe.

Jennifer said...

Welcome Back Jen,
I am so sorry to hear about your dad, I lost mine in April and we have yet to have his funeral because of this D*** Covid. I am still working retail and have been working all along. I walk to work with my mask on and it doesn't come off until I walk in the door at the end of the day. Life goes on... I was thrilled to see your email again and I look forward to hearing more from you soon. Stay safe and healthy, Jennifer

City Girl-Country Girl said...

Hi Jen,
I actually hung onto this post and read it several times, as you struck a nerve with me also. It has been a full year of loss here, starting with my beautiful dog and ending with my Dad at the end of May. Although we were not extremely close, we had a good relationship and he was my Dad, so I was unprepared for how my grief would manifest itself. Except for really big, physical projects (also in my garden) and an obsessive crocheting compulsion, I've felt much the same way you do. The kicker is that we haven't buried him yet, because with C-19, most of my siblings will not travel now. This year has been too much for everyone. I keep going through the motions because I know one day they won't seem like motions any more. I love your blog and your unedited photos. Stay safe and healthy.
Lisamarie (LMC207)

Melanie said...

First and foremost, I am so sorry to hear about your dad's death. My heart goes out to you.

It is so good to see a blog post from you though. I follow you on IG, but IG is just little snips of what's going on. Blogging is more in-depth. I know the new Blogger format is frustrating. I reverted back to the old format last time I blogged. I don't know if it's still available.

I think a lot of us are feeling the way you are; just kind of going through the motions and not having much enthusiasm. In any case, I hear you.

I like all your "randoms" at the end of your post. Pedicures...I've actually only had one in my life and it was many years ago. I ended up getting a toenail fungus infection from it that took years to clear up, so from then on I've always just done my own toenails. However, I'm finding as I get older that bending over that much kills my back. So now I just trim and file my toenails and haven't even painted them the entire summer. It's actually kind of freeing! One less thing to tend to.

I went to a B&N last month and the shelves were full. Maybe try again? Or a different location? I'm assuming all the fall and Christmas publications should be out by now. The grocery store chains here have a lot of the magazines, too.

Hope you will do a post soon about your "new" yard and patio.

Blondie's Journal said...

I always love to see your posts pop up, Jennifer. I need to put it out there more often, too. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad's passing. I also had a difficult relationship with my late father and it's hard to share, especially when we read blogs with beautiful recollections. But I don't begrudge anyone---I'm somewhat envious.

I'm with you on so many levels with the Covid and our loss of everything familiar. I try to be productive everyday-sort of like we try
to be in January with white sales and starting anew in our homes after the holidays. I read that this sort of pressure leads to a lot of anxiety. Sometimes I feel like cleaning is my hobby. It never ends with the two homes. No complaint but it isn't always a day at the beach.

All the best to your daughter and upcoming bride! Be happy, forget the possible glitches, and celebrate! And take some darn photos with your phone!!

Jane x

Sarah said...

I just love reading your blog, so thanks for taking the time to post. Your pictures are so calming and inspirational :)

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. You’re always so authentic, and I’m glad you posted again. So sorry about your Dad! Hunkering down is usually one of my favorite things to do, but now that it’s the norm it doesn’t seem as sacred, right? Though there are lots of things I miss, the busy, busy-ness of trying to do it all isn’t one of them. Stay well, stay real, and savor this unusual time. Oh, and keep blogging! ~Patricia