Sunday, April 5, 2020

Pandemic Diary Entry #4

My Dickens Village holiday display -- with an interesting addition from my son

Friday, April 3 (by my calculations, this is Day 23 of isolation, since we started a little before most people): I finally put away my last Christmas decoration, the Dickens Village display on the sideboard in our little-used dining room. Before you make fun of me for having a holiday decoration up until April, please know that it brought me great joy!

You see, back in early January, my older son surprised me with an addition to the village. A miniature version of my upcoming book. His degree in engineering certainly paid for itself with this sweet and delightful surprise. How he managed to make such tiny book covers, I'll never know. Yes, the title has changed since then, and also I couldn't show this to anyone in January because the contract hadn't been countersigned yet.

Now the future is so uncertain, I'm not sure when the book will actually be published.

Support authors! Support bookstores. Support publishers. If you can afford it, please order a few books from

The world's tiniest book!

Saturday, April 4, 2020, Day 24 

I woke up after four hours of sleep with an aching jaw, from clenching my teeth in my sleep. This is also known as bruxism and can damage your teeth. Has this happened to you? For me, this is nothing new.

For months after each of my brain aneurysm ruptures, I woke up with aching jaws. My dentist made me a simple device to protect my teeth, but I haven't been wearing it for a while. I also found after each rupture, that massaging my jaw before bedtime really helped.

In addition, I learned not to watch something scary (like the news a horror movie!) just before bed. Oddly enough, last night we watched a really sweet movie on Netflix: About Time with Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy. It was actually the third time I've watched it. I love this time travel movie! And it made me forget for a brief two hours about the crisis we're in now. But as soon as it ended, my husband clicked over to the evening news.

I went upstairs.

So... is this aching jaw a sign of PTSD? Without a proper diagnosis, it's hard to tell. But we've ALL been stressed since this pandemic started! Except, we really can't call it "post" traumatic stress disorder, since we're still in the middle of it. Let's just call it TSD.

(Please note: The last thing I want to do is belittle anyone who has been through war, rape, abuse or other horrifying experiences and has PTSD. You're in pain. I get that and I feel for you. I hope you find relief. My brain aneurysm ruptures were pretty terrible, but I wasn't being attacked by anyone else. Only by my own brain.)

Sunday April 5 (Day 25): What a bizarre world we live in now, with religious services online only (except for a few holdouts in Southern states), and no sports anymore! What do you do when you would have been watching Basketball or Baseball or Golf, or even Formula One auto racing (my husband's favorite)?

I've never been much of a sports fan so it really doesn't bother me. Please don't get mad at me! I'm sorry! If you're going to throw anything at me, make it toilet paper. :)

When my husband would have been watching F-1 races, he watches CNBC. Sometimes he reads. If the weather's nice, he putters in the yard. What I do is read or organize the pantry or clean out a closet.

Today we took another lovely walk.

Our weeping cherry tree is finally blooming!

Currently reading:

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, Book 4 in The Raven Cycle.  This one will take me a while too, but probably not as long as it took me to read The Overstory. I read the first three books in this Cycle back in January and February, when I could get them out of the library. Now the library is off limits, so I ordered a few paperbacks from Fascinating, utterly absorbing modern-day fantasies published by Scholastic from 2012 to 2016.

Covid-19 stats (from the WHO)
as of April 5, 2020:

Countries affected: 209
Confirmed cases: 1,136,851
Confirmed deaths: 62,955

What are you reading? And do you ever wake up with aching jaws?

Stay healthy, friends! Stay safe. Stay home.


  1. Glad you are doing okay. Hope you figure out how not to clench your teeth. My dentist gave me something for that too but I didn't like keeping it in my mouth all night. And I do hope your book gets published even if your publication date is moved out. I feel bad for all the authors with releases right now.

    1. Thanks, Natalie. And I actually had the same issue with the mouth guard. It made me gag, so I couldn't keep it in all night. Do you massage your jaw before bed?

  2. I clench my teeth, too, usually as I'm trying to go to sleep. I don't think I do it while I'm sleeping because my jaw isn't sore. I do know it isn't good to be stressed for such a long time, no matter how mentally healthy. I can feel this wearing on me but not much to do except find good distractions - like books! and Picard! - and focus on what I can for as long as I can. Most importantly, go easy on myself.

    1. Wise words, Marcy. We all need to go easy on ourselves. As it continues, I can also feel it wearing on me more. I'd be lost without good books and funny movies.

  3. What cute tiny book covers! Also, your cherry tree looks so beautiful! One of my neighbors cut down every single tree in their yard, presumably so they can plant new ones (I hope), but I can't understand why you wouldn't want giant, beautiful plants! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank YOU, Completely (someday, I hope you'll tell us your real name!). We love our weeping cherry but it's kinda sick, so we might have to consider replacing it one of these years. But I'm astonished that your neighbors cut down every single tree in their yard! We would never do that all at once!

  4. I am thoroughly enjoying your pandemic diaries, Joanne. Your son is amazing making those tiny book covers.
    Like Natalie, I am crossing my fingers that your book gets published. As for what I'm reading right now, it's Tim O'Brien'd DAD'S MAYBE BOOK, a series of essays about becoming a father late in life. It has made me cry a number of times. (I was 43 when my youngest was born, while O'Brien was 57 when he first became a father--he is now 73.) It is a reminder of mortality.

    1. Michael, you've made me smile. Thank you. Glad you're enjoying these entries. I apologize that they're a tad long, but I've actually edited them for the blog!

      Hadn't heard of DAD'S MAYBE BOOK but it sounds impressive. My husband was 40 when our younger son was born. But I had a boss once who didn't become a father until he was 55!


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