Stay Home, Stay Safe

I know it’s hard. We miss our families, our friends, our freedom to go to the movies, a restaurant, go shopping, have a drink in a bar, work out in our gym, go to the beach or the park–and so many ordinary things we all took for granted.


There are so many people–and some are friends, some are family–who have to go out, every day, to tend the sick, to deliver the mail, to drive the trucks that bring food, to work in grocery stores, to prepare the take-out, to clean, to provide us with safety, care and essentials.

For them, we stay home.

For our kids we stay home. For our parents, for our neighbors.

I know I’m fortunate to be able to work at home, to have land around me so I can go outside without putting myself or anyone at risk. I know there are many, many who aren’t as fortunate.

And still, even for the fortunate, it all wears down, stresses out, this constant repeat of days.

For me, staying busy really helps. It took me awhile to find my writing rhythm again. The minute I’d open my mind, it will fill with worry. But I sat at the keyboard every day, as usual, and kept trying. And I had a pretty decent writing week this week, so that eases the stress.

Doesn’t matter if most of what I wrote is probably crap. It’s words on the page, and the pushing back into the habit. I’ll eventually fix the crap.

Weekends around here have a new kind of routine. Maniacal cleaning. Scrubbing, sanitizing, polishing. (I’m sure I don’t have to add disinfectant is for cleaning, not injecting or ingesting–but I’ll say it anyway.)

BW and I have worked out a loose division of chores–which change as needs demand. It’s working just fine.

I’m holding on strongly to the belief that a clean house is a healthy one. If this is true, we’re very healthy here!

Then there’s cooking. At BW’s request I made spaghetti and meatballs yesterday. And while I was at it, I put together a kitchen sink vegetable soup for Kayla–enough to share with her family if anyone else is interested.

Red sauce with meatballs
Kayla’s soup

Busy and yummy work.

So Saturday was…

Strip the bed and get the laundry started. Get the workout in early because the day’s packed. Scrub down two bathrooms–BW took the third. Keep at the laundry–a shared chore. Make meatballs, make red sauce, make soup, get it all simmering. Scrub down the kitchen. Dust and polish furniture–we’ve got a LOT of wood in this house, and that’s another shared chore.

By the time I’m done, BW’s already working outside. And when I finish, I can go out, too, and get my hands in the dirt. Start putting in more flowers–wonderfully delivered by my beautiful local nursery.

Post delivery, flowers at the ready

This is joy–hard work, but just joy. It’s therapeutic, and satisfying, and you can’t think hard, worrying thoughts when you’re planting a faerie garden.

Coleus in solar pot — it lights up at night!

I can only give it about four hours due to the inside work, but it’s a lovely start. Today’s cool and rainy–the flowers will like that, but no gardening today.

And as I’m boiling pasta, Kat FaceTimes so I get to see her and Jason and Griffin. That boy is definitely living his best life right now, everything is happy, is parents are at his beck. And he waves and blows kisses at the end.

I can also see him whenever I like due to the pictures and videos Kat and Jason post daily. Not the same, of course, but a tremendous lift to the spirit. My favorite, so far, is his uncontrollable giggles over a Sesame Street segment where every time Elmo sneezes, the seasons change. He tries to pretend to sneeze like Elmo and laughs and laughs.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched it.

My oldest grandson, Logan, turned 16 on Thursday. Hard, hard, hard not to see him, celebrate with him. We’ll make up for it when the world’s sane again.

Today, I’m making my mother’s pound cake–a family favorite. I’ll send half of it down the hill for Logan and family.

My workout’s done, and when I finish this blog, I’ll bake that cake. And since it’s raining, since my house is clean, I’m going to settle in with a book.

I hope all of you are safe and well, those of you at home, those of you on the front lines. And I hope you find the things–so many of them simple and ordinary–that bring you peace and some joy.


43 thoughts on “Stay Home, Stay Safe”

  1. Life as an essential worker hasn’t changed too much. Its just the emotional strain of watching people who are obviously scared in shopping, and those who think its a joke, getting in our space, breathing on and touching everything. Its hard when I can’t find things my daughter needs for her diabetes, luckily alcohol wipes are something easily substituted and she’s rolling with it. Thankful its the digital age so I can still see friends, even if I can’t hug them. But this will eventually pass.

  2. Thank you for sharing your current world. It’s always appreciated. Your discipline is also appreciated. You set a fine example. That looong row of new flowers to plant was eye-opening. I mean wow!

    Please take care of yourself. You’re never far from our thoughts.

    PS: Eve and Roarke are constant companions even more than usual. They are ever present soldiers during this weird time.

    1. Thanks, Nora. I always appreciate the thoughts and things you share with us. I especially love the video of Griffin. He’s such a cutie! And he’s grown so much.

      It’s nice to know that you and BW are keeping on along with the rest of us. Stay safe and well!

  3. Thank you for the cute video of Griffin. It brought me joy. Baby giggles are the best! Baking makes me happy, so I plan to bake some cookies today.
    Take care and stay safe.

  4. Nora, you are the best. I love these glimpses into your life…so heartwarming! The pictures are amazing – so pretty! And the video of Griffin beyond adorable! Thank you for just being you – and for the countless hours of relaxation, entertainment, and just pure joy you bring into our lives!

    Stay well and safe! God bless!

    1. Pamela Miller
      Well said!!! Thank you Nora for just being grounded and brilliant simultaneously!
      Griffin….well to die for ♡♡ sweet baby joy!

  5. Thank you for sharing your routine and thoughts. I think we all relate to what you do with your days. I tackled a file cabinet with files that were at least 12 years old to clean out. Took me more than 4 hours, andI think I shredded and tossed out about 10-15 pounds of old paper. Baking, cleaning and tending my potted plants all hit the list along with walks, and light weights. And lots of livestream classes and NR/JDR reading. Blessed be all and much gratitude for your books! 🙂

  6. Just signed on property before the outbreak. Hoping to start building soon. It would be wonderful to be in by Christmas but it is what it is and my 95yr. mother lives with us. She’s very healthy but I’m not taking any chances. Love your flowers. Our property is similar so I’m checking out your flats🙂. Doing a lot of baking , packing and just picked up your latest JD Robb book. Doing a craftsman style house and your books will be the first to be put in the buildt in bookcases I wanted. Everyone stay healthy. We can get through this.

  7. I love your posts because they always remind me to find joy in the simple things. That’s something we can all take for granted at times. As for precious Griffin, I know you can’t wait to kiss those yummy cheeks. Stay safe. ❤️

  8. I too have found that working in the garden quiets the mind. I’m over going to sleep and waking up thinking about this new reality. Luckily both my college age kids are home and keeping us entertained. Sadly it it my daughter’s senior year. No goodbyes to friends, places or professors that have come to mean so much in the last 4 years. We are probably going for overkill in the stay at home celebrationdepartent, but we all need the party! She has no idea what is coming! I do have a question relating to the post. Where can I find these solar charged planters? I love this idea. Night pictures of these would be appreciated. Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay you!

  9. Enjoyed reading about what is happening in your corner of MD!

    Yesterday was one of the first warmish days in Western NYS! This meant sitting in the screen porch reading and basking i. The sun…taking joy in gold finches at the feeder…and for the first time ever watching rabbits do a cavort in my yard. The raced, leapt, jumped, whirled…until Watson had had enough and thundered into the yard! The rabbits waiting u til he tru does himself in to the house again…and resumed!

    Taking comfort in FaceTime with friends, the joy of walking the dog, and breathing on my home.

    Thankful for every health care professional who is working so tirelessly to keep people alive! There are no words to fully thank you!

    Be well,

  10. Thank you so much for this blog post. It’s nice to be reminded that we are all in this together. Your description of your routine and activities has given me a much needed boost of motivation. I was starting to get lost in the sads a bit. And, of course, thank you for your books. They have been a much-needed balm to my heart, mind and soul these days. Wishing you and yours and everyone here in the Nora Roberts community health and safety.

  11. Thank you for this lovely and thoughtful post. You are absolutely on point when you say, “It took me awhile to find my writing rhythm again.” I believe everyone is trying to find their altered daily rhythm. Concentration has proven difficult without the typical routines we all follow (including the people who are part of this routine). The video clip is delightful as there is nothing more joyful than the sound of a child’s laughter.

    I’m working on my current projects remotely plus sewing masks. Every mask tells a story about the person wearing it. My two personal heroes are my sisters (Lauren is a US postal carrier who has the additional worry about the future of the Post Office. Julie is a healthcare professional). Stay well, be happy, and support one another.

  12. Unless men have a solitary hobby (fishing, photography, woodworking come to mind), they mostly watch TV. However, the women can always find something in the house that requires attention. Cleaning is a never ending, thankless chore, but sticking to my self-appointed schedule helps me remember the days and keep myself accountable. Same for laundry. If I don’t have set days set aside for those chores, they don’t get done.

    As another reader mentioned, I tackled filing, some of which I had neglected, because, who likes to file when there are books to be read??? We had wallpaper stripped and a good bit of our interior painted right as the stay-at-home orders were issued, and I had to relocate all the items moved for the painting and the papers that had piled up. Took me several days and a sore elbow to sort, organize, and file, but that was a great feeling of accomplishment. Tackled all the recipes I had printed/clipped from various sources and tucked inside my recipe binder, and then those were organized by category and then alphabetically, slipped into page protectors, and put into a recipe keeper gifted to me several years ago. Such a feeling of satisfaction when that was finished. And bonus? Came across some great recipes that I had forgotten I wanted to try. With everyone eating at home, it is easy to get into a cooking rut so I can’t wait to try some new dishes.

    Your gardening tasks look daunting, but then I only container garden, and with all the rain this year, there has not been a good time to do that even if I could get flowers. I am so glad I invested in some perennials that give our yard a splash of color here and there.

    Technology has been the savior in all of this. I, too, miss seeing my grand children in person because nothing can replace those precious hugs. However, I can see them on Skype and in photos my daughter shares with me via FB messenger, and I can stay in touch with other family via Facebook. We even set up a Google meeting with my sisters and my 86 year old mother who is feeling a bit bored and isolated with no social life outside the home for now. Great to visit in real time instead of email and quick instant messages. Yes, we all miss seeing family and friends, but with technology, we can keep in touch so that helps.

    As a homebody, I am perfectly content to read and entertain myself. Now if my husband would just stop talking to me when I get immersed in a book..!

  13. Thank you for this blog! It definitely made my day! Not feeling the greatest this passed week (not the virus, but an upper back ache!) Trying to relax today and rest, possibly read the Born In trilogy (for the 3rd time haha), and just be thankful and grateful my family and I are still healthy considering 4 of us in our home are essential workers! Very tough to go out and work every day when life us so uncertain right now.

    I love seeing your pictures, your fairy garden is absolutely beautiful and Griffin is so precious!! I’ve watch it about four times now!! I hope you all stay safe and healthy!!

  14. Nora, I Love the insights of your life beyond your books! Your Grandson is adorable and your life sounds so fulfilling! Keep writing! You are amazing!

  15. I am still babying my winter pansies. I don’t have a nursery that delivers but my hostas are tremendous and my roses and azalea are blooming so I am tending those with care. Dreaming of when I feel confident to go for the annuals.
    My “Old Boy” has diabetes , high blood pressure and borderline kidney issues so I stay in. Our oldest daughter is an essential worker and brings us groceries. She changes and disinfects in the laundry room downstairs before she comes up into the house.
    We live at the beach so we still take long walks out with the dogs and there is always in and out chores. I miss my other children and grandkids. I miss my “girls” and wine on the deck with easy talk and support. But we all do what we can during these unsettling times.

  16. As always enjoyed your update. I don’t know what I would do without technology. I feel for my fellow seniors who don’t have computers or tablets. Instagram and email have kept me sane. Added to that I am rereading some of my favorite Nora Roberts/JD Robb books again.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing. I think the shelter in place is hardest on grandparents. My sister-in-law’s sister sees her only grandchild by sitting in a chair at the end of the walkway while he plays on a blanket more than six feet away; she gets to see him, but not hug him. We will keep strong and get through this. Your books are a godsend, and help me to escape to other lives and places.

  18. May I ask where you got your Face planter pot? I Love love it.
    I love reading your blog. Thank you

  19. Thank you for sharing your life with us. How is Kayla doing with her abrupt end to senior year? My senior is sad and missing her friends and even school. Was Logan able to get his drivers license? In Ohio, the DMV is closed and daughter wasn’t able to get her temp which pushes back her ability to get a license when she could have in August.
    The soup looks amazing. Any chance for a recipe?
    Thank you again and stay safe

  20. Thank you for the up-date Nora, always a treat to see your life.

  21. I’ve been staying inside. I think I’ve only been out four times since the shelter in place order was announced. Because of my mental illness, I’ve been using Zoom to talk to my therapist and psychologist and my congregation meetings are though Zoom also.
    Living in transitional housing has its headaches though. My roommate would not shelter in place and kept going out to dumpster dive, so she’s in quarantine while her coronavirus test results come in and we have bed bugs.
    I am doing all I can to stay sane and healthy, and Nora’s books are a great help there.


  22. I’m whenever I see a new blog post, I settle in with a glass of wine and see what’s been happening. It’s just a relaxing comfort. I’d love to know what book you settled on?

  23. I’m one of the people you all are working so hard at keeping safe. I’m over 60, diabetic and in remission. So, thank you all and we appreciate you! I’ll still have to stay in even after they start lifting the lockdown, but this has helped everyone. I’ve done some more practicing with my soup making. I think I’m past my 50-50 success days to closer to 80% success – yay for me! Thanks for the smiles watching Griffin, he’s adorable! Happy Birthday, Logan! Question for you folks who have been to Ireland – I came across a YouTube from the Fleming family, trying to teach dad Derry to dance. Are they really that daft? Maybe it’s being together too long. LOL Thanks Nora and Laura.

  24. Thank you for sharing your gardens and adorable grandson! Just what I needed today.

  25. Thank you for sharing the baby giggles! More than anything, that little voice just cheered me up! We just cancelled reservations at the B&B for the cancelled booksigning. As sad as I am, I know it can’t be helped. I am truly blessed – I can work from home, my family and friends are healthy, so I am grateful for all my blessings. I love to bake, so I unload it all on my family and neighbors. If I didn’t, I’d never get through the door!
    Stay safe, all of you! Nora and family, Laura and family, and everyone out there!

  26. I’m glad you and your family are Safe-in-Place.
    I too miss my daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law. He’s a first responder, so I check every day on him. I especially miss my granddaughter’s hugs! She does this sideways hug thing, I just adore! She’s 12yrs old, taking her dance classes via ZOOM. My daughter is reaching her deaf clients via various GOOGLE platforms, FaceTime and ZOOM.
    I’m always looking for a good poundcake recipe. If you want to share your mother’s, I’ll let you gave my Cardamom/Vanilla Bundt Cake recipe. It’s a hit in my co-op. Whenever I make it, I get texts and emails from neighbors (I live on the 1st floor, so they smell it as soon as they enter the building). Since my daughter’s family lives across town from me, my neighbors got to have my son-in-law’s half! Keep staying safe. I have 2 friends that are recovering from COVID-19, both 15+ years younger than me. It was touch and go for awhile, with one of them. Just came home from hospital after 4 week, 2 on a respirator. He was asymptomatic before he crashed one night!
    Your youngest grandson is a breath of fresh air. He made me smile. The first time in 3 days!

  27. Nora,

    I don’t have grandchildren yet. Loved the whole post, but Griffin still the show. Thank you for sharing! I’m so grateful for your books.

  28. Griffin has grown into such an adorable little baby boy. I know you miss giving him grandma hugs. Your gardens are gorgeous. I have black thumbs they kill green things. Plus I rent so I don’t bother with more than paying someone to mow the yard for me. I used to do it until some kids broke into the backyard and stole the leaf blower, the weedeater, the lawnmower, and the gas cans. With me working sometimes 10-12 hours a day I’ll gladly pay someone else to do it.

  29. I think that even if the writing turns out bad, it is worth it. I have found that writing helps me feel better after I get it done. The other thing is it keeps me out of my head (which is a very bad place to be stuck in). I love Griffin. You are right to love that one. His laugh is so infectious it even had me laughing.

  30. I am a blind reader an read for enjoyment.but you did help me through my blue days sitting with my husband before his death.thus Iam very Gratefully for. Your books as an escape time for myself.

  31. Love baby giggles! Nothing like them in the world. I’ve been cleared to go back to work. Home improvement stores are essential. In the meantime I’ve ordered more on line the last couple of months than in the last two years. Needed a new skillet. Ordered one. Needed some new polo shirts for work. Ordered them. Then there were the vegetable & herb seeds, old garden roses, clematis, deutzia. Everything is planted in a assortment of large planters. Flower beds are to be gutted and rebuilt. New beds to follow. In the meantime the new stuff will be growing nicely in their big, roomy planters. We’ve had a couple of bad storms here but nothing near us. Spring has basically been very sweet this year. Last year cold and rainy then straight into summer. Checking everything and saw my second planting of lettuces are up. The carrots, green onions and bush beans peeking out. Then found several asparagus spears poking up. The new roses are budding and the established roses have been blooming. Ahhh spring.

  32. Bless you for this reminder about what is important. Routine is so important to staying sane in this trying and unprecedented era. We will all have time to catch up and make up for the time lost later if we stay safe now.

  33. Hi Miss Nora,
    Happy to hear that you’re doing well. Life in NYC is sad because of so much death, but as Gov. Cuomo says, we are New York Tough. I am fortunate that I can work from home. There is much to be grateful for, for me, it’s reading your stories. Griffin made me smile so much, especially when he sneezed too! Thank you, and continue to stay safe and well.


  34. At times like this, getting outside is so important. Ah, the sunshine! Even the rain – my favorite weather system – is lovely. And also important during times like this (please Mother Goddess don’t let there be more) is the opportunity to get lost in a good read. While patiently awaiting the next NR (and JDR), I’m whittling down my TBR stack. But – curious: what books are you reading during this “down” time? I just finished the new Sanford and Jack Carr’s latest; any suggestions?

    Take good care – stay safe and well.

  35. I’m new to the party having only found Nora/JD Robb less than a year ago – I’m working my way through as systematically as I can! I have a question that I’ve not seen answered and I’m hoping I’m not being repetetive: Many of the JD Robb stories are disturbing, upsetting and the people/characters have violent stories to deal with (rightly so, since it IS murder…). How does that work? Are the stories born from events you’ve heard of and collected, or does Eve – or the current victim – ‘relate’ them to you? (or a combination of both) How do you deal with the dark you have to delve into when the story is resolved?
    A second question, if I may: Some of my favorite books have characters who have surprised their authors; by appearing to be more central or stronger than first anticipated, or by simply appearing unexpectedly. Where did Eve and Roarke come from? Who came first? What has surprised, frightened, or delighted you about them?
    Thank you!
    Ann Marie

  36. Awesome update. Food looks so yummy I could almost taste it….your yard looks gorgeous and of course Master Griffin was a joy to watch, like you I come back and watch it over again when I get to down with the way this country is going right now. Thank you ever so much for making my day!

    Love to you and your extended family hoping that you all stay safe and well…

  37. I absolutely love the “Death”series and appreciate the strong woman characters of Peabody and Eve. Over the last years I have read the books in order (just the way I am) and have just started on the 2020 published one Golden In Death. This one is available in audio book form and I am delighted…except the reader Susan Ericksen does not do justice to the characters. She pronounces Peabody like PeaBUDDY, and while Peabody is a carefree funny partner in pink boots, Ms. Erickson reads her with a low, rough twang that just doesn’t fit. As a professional speaker I know how important character portrayal is. While I just started listening to the book, it bothered me so much that I searched out this form to say something about it and my disappointment with my first Audiobook of JDROBB. Hope it gets better.

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