Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Three weeks later...

My 2014 RAV4 went into the shop due to rodent invasion on November 10th. The vehicle was totally disassembled the very next day. It has been sitting in the service department in pieces ever since while the insurance adjuster and the rodent invasion specialist play a cat and mouse of avoiding one another and coming to an agreement as to the amount of damage from mice that my SUV has sustained.

Meanwhile, I am driving around in a 2017 Toyota Corolla rental car that the insurance company is covering while the vehicle is in for repairs. I bout my first Rav4 in 2009 because I was having trouble getting into and out of my Mazda Protégé due to rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain and stiffness. I had an occasional mouse nest in the engine compartment of that Rav but never had mice IN my vehicle itself.

The 2014 Rav4 design evidently has no barriers between the engine compartment and the dashboard area which allows easy access to every imaginable place in the vehicle to mice. Toyota has admitted it's a design flaw. The mice originally ate through the cabin air filter to gain access. I didn't know I had mice in my vehicle until last winter when I turned on the defroster for the windshield and all these bits of gray foam stuff came flying out of all the vents like monochromatic confetti. That's when John found that the air filter has been eaten. He bought a new filter, built a wire mesh screen around it and things were okay there, but there were other places the mice were getting in. They ate the headliner. They got into the door panels and chewed the wire for the keyless access. I kept finding chewed up Kleenex and paper towels all over the inside, mouse pee on my light colored seats.

Kelly saw a mouse leap out of the front grill one time when I backed out of the driveway and she was waiting at the mailbox to jump in. Then there was a second mouse who also emerged from the grill and was clinging to the license plate holder for dear life.

And then there was the mouse I ran over on Christmas Eve when I got home from work, pulled up too far in the driveway and rolled backwards right over it.

The mouse invasion expert at the Toyota dealership service department estimates $10,000 in damages. The adjuster showed up on a day the man wasn't there, looked at the disassembled vehicle and decided on $2500. Meanwhile, the insurance company is sending us a check when the adjuster hasn't really seen or grasped the extent of the damage because no one was there to point it all out.

I am just so frustrated at this point. I miss my SUV,especially on cold mornings because I have heated seats...but have been afraid to sue them for fear the mice gnawed the wiring and the seats will catch on fire. It's also possible they ate the air bags.

Three weeks... I would have had my car back by now if I'd been in an accident!

I no longer think field mice are cute.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Historic Deerfield

I have lived in western MA my entire life. My mother was born in Colrain, MA. Her brother lived in Greenfield. My father's brother lived in Greenfield. We used to drive through Deerfield all the time when going to visit relatives. So why have I only been to Historic Deerfield maybe three times in my life? I vaguely remember a grade school bus trip there. I bought a small brass lamb, so it was way back when I was still infatuated with lambs (prior to age 9 when I became infatuated with camels).

I remember driving through with John and Kelly years and years ago when she was maybe in fourth or fifth grade.

Today Kelly and I were in Deerfield to buy some butterscotch candies at Richardson's Candy Kitchen. I love butterscotch hard candies, but only the real deal candies, not the cheap grocery store look-alikes. I've had a passion for butterscotch candies since my trick-or-treating days when some of our neighbors would toss a handful of wrapped hard candies in our bags. I always traded for my brother and sister's butterscotch candies, but had to share them with my Mom who also liked butterscotch. Kelly didn't care for them years ago, but she recently tried one and discovered that she likes them now, so we have to make an occasional trip north on 91 and then 5 to get to the candy store.

Historic Deerfield is right across the street from the candy store. Because John thinks a road trip involves pinpointing a destination, going there, and then going home, we left him at home to do yardwork before the rain arrived. Kelly and I are more flexible about road trips- we like to explore. So today I said, Romney lives in a colonial era house in my book. let's see if there's a house alng the street in Historic Deerfield that might be a suitable match for his home. So we shot up the street alongside Deerfield Academy and turned right, driving slowly along the street studying each antique house we passed. It's an amazing street. I wished I had thought to bring my camera along, but it was a spontaneous side trip. Kelly, however, shot some pictures with her cellphone camera.

The Deerfield Museum store was open so on the way back down that side of the street we pulled in in front of the old post office building and went into the store. I found a book on early houses, and one depicting the houses in Historic Deerfield, so those came home with me. I LOVE old houses of that era right up to the Second Empire and Queen Anne era.

We then went to the Deerfield Country Store where we both bought a few things for home, and found the coveted rolls all chocolate NECCO wafers we were in search of (Andy's Variety down the street, our usual stock-up supplier, has been out of these for weeks!).

Kelly said she wished she'd gotten a picture of the old Town offices behind Deerfield Academy. Well, what are Mom's for if not granting their children's wishes no matter their age? I drove her back up the side street and stopped so she could get her pictures.

Then we drove home on route 5, taking some back roads in Northampton so we could pass by my favorite second empire mansion near Smith College. Then we drove past the site of the old Northampton State Hospital, long gone now, through Easthampton where I grew up until my family moved to Westfield in 1973 when I was fifteen years old. We hit some rain here and there on the drive home, but when we pulled into the driveway a sleet squall had just begun. Luckily we made it inside before the clouds opened up and poured sleets down from the north while the sky to the south of us remained a beautiful bright blue with fluffy white clouds!

The sleet squall lasted about fifteen minutes and was enough to begin to turn the lawn white!

I haven't cracked open the books I bought yet. I've been reading Kelly's NaNo novel about a group of paranormal investigators at a college in Halifax. I am amazed at the maturity of her writing nowadays! She's really grown-up and blossomed as an author! I'm enjoying her book!

But the point of this blog is- if you have an historical gem practically in your backyard and haven't visited it in a long, long time- please do so! We had a wonderful afternoon today exploring Historic Old Deerfield!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Approaching 100,000 words

Had a quiet Thanksgiving yesterday, so did a lot of NaNo writing catch-up after taking 4 days off from writing to make handwritten  notes chapter by chapter to look for loose ends to tie up and themes, storylines, etc that were not adequately developed. Caught a few things. Wrote almost 11,500 words yesterday afternoon and evening. Nearly done with this novel.

I was pleased to see that the Western MA writers/authors participating in this year's NaNoWriMo challenge have written close to 4,000,000 words!

Happy to live in this area that breeds creativity!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful For...

I am thankful to have been born in this country. My maternal grandfather was born here in 1905. My Mom in 1930. Me in 1958. My Italian relatives immigrated here in the late 1800's. On my father's side my Dad was a first generation American born to Polish immigrant farmers who came here in 1886 and 1889. This country gave them opportunities, but they had to work for them. My father had to learn English before he was allowed to go to school (he was sent home from first grade because he couldn't speak English. The following year he started school and could speak English. It's all about wanting something bad enough and working at it.

I'm thankful I have that inborn initiative within me.

I'm thankful for my older sister and younger brother, the only remaining members of my immediate family. Our parents are gone. Our grandparents are gone. We have one living Uncle in Florida. All we have for family is one another.

I'm thankful for my husband who doesn't understand anything about my ability to write, but tolerates the long hours I'm at the keyboard creating whole new worlds populated by interesting people. He never complains.

I'm thankful for the amazing, intelligent, imaginative, creative, interesting daughter we have been blessed with. She's made my life anything but dull. I'm thankful she's a good kid with a good head on her shoulders and who has avoided all the pitfalls many of her peers have fallen into. She's navigated her own path in this world and I'm so proud of her!

I'm thankful to have a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes in my closet, and everything I need to be comfortable and secure. I'm thankful my husband had 32 years of profitable employment before his big business company eliminated his and many other American worker's jobs to save themselves a few bucks. He still hasn't found a new job yet seven months later, but we're doing all right.

I'm thankful for my job because it gives me an opportunity to help people. I'm thankful for all the friends I've made through the nine and a half years I've been there. They make me laugh, have let me cry on their shoulders, have cheered my successes and commiserated with me on my failures. They've been supportive and critical and I love them all dearly.

I'm thankful for this talent I have, this ability to tell a story in written words. My maternal grandfather was an awesome oral story teller. I grew up listening to his stories about the locals- he was so funny!

I am thankful for the Spiit that watches over me and guides me through every day.

I am truly blessed.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Museum Project

I'm a medical secretary and an author. I also have an internet charmstring museum where my collection is featured. I recently acquired charmstring #94 from Texas. It was in poor condition due to storage issues through over 100 years of existence. There was a ton of grime and rust on the buttons, but these things have historic value to me because any of them are also a record of a family's lifetime told by the kinds of buttons that are on the string. I set the string aside for a rainy day project, but a week of not feeling well led me to bring it out today and tackle the cleaning and restoration project.

Sitting at the kitchen table I spread the string out on an old dish towel then got out my supplies- Q-Tips, small squares of paper towel, brass wire brushes, #2 disposable pencils, a tube of Simichrome metal polish, a soft toothbrush, and small cups to hold plain water and mineral oil. I also keep sturdy wire nips on hand to cut off the shanks of broken buttons to remove them from the string without having to dismantle the whole thing, and a small pair of pliers for bending bent shanks back into shape or closing those that have come loose. And vinyl gloves. Lots of gloves because this is grimy, dirty work!

First I examine the string and nip off the broken buttons. There are buttons called kaleidoscopes that were popular back in the late 1860's to 1870's. These consist of a metal loop shank backing that had a foil or paper top on the flat metal base plate. Glued to the base was a usually clear glass top that could be a plain dome or could have a shape to it. There were five bases for this type of button on the string, but no glass tops. The foil was gone from on top of the base plates, so off the string these broken buttons had to come. Next I looked over the rest of the buttons- nothing else was broken or so badly corroded that it needed to come off.

Then the cleaning process started. I begin at one end and work my way to the other end. Brass buttons get a light cleaning with a Q-Tip to remove surface dust and grunge. Then I use the brass bristle brush to clean the face of the button. The reverse side can be black lacquer, brass, or white metal. If white metal there's generally rust that needs to be removed. The pencil is used to scrape the rust off (wear and tear on the graphite is significant, so I go through several twist pencils when cleaning!). Q-Tips and the paper towel squares remove the graphite residue. Then the whole thing is brushed again.

Glass buttons get cleaned with a Q-Tip dipped in water. Some buttons are just permanently stained due to age and dirt getting into fine cracks in the surface. I don't stress about getting them pristine. These are antique buttons and will never look like they did when brand new. My goal is to remove the most surface grime as possible.

Hard rubber buttons get cleaned the same way, however I dip a Q-Tip in the mineral oil, blot it on a piece of paper towel and then lightly rub the pil into the surface to bring out the shine in the button. Then I wipe the button with a clean bit of paper towel and move on.

Horn buttons also get cleaned in this manner- a dampened Q-Tip to remove surface grunge, then a light buffing with a dry bit of paper towel, then finally a light coat of mineral oil and another go with the dry paper towel to wipe off any excess. They look good when done!

Sometimes there's green corrosion on brass and other metal buttons. I scrape it off with the pencil graphite, wipe off the residue, brush the surface of the button with the brass bristle brush, and sometimes give it a dab of Simichrome and a polish to finish it.

Pearl and abalone buttons might have salt deposits on them. This is removed by making a paste of table salt and water and scrubbing with a soft toothbrush. If they're sew through or self shank they can soak in water. It's best not to get metal loop shanks wet, but sometimes, if the button is super filthy I just go ahead and clean it and then wipe the shanks dry, let them air dry or blow dry them on low setting to get rid of the moisture that will corrode the metal. The salt cleaning method works well- the salt is gritty but doesn't damage the shell and actually polishes it. Just don't make it too gritty! Shells come from the ocean, a little salt won't hurt them!

Buttons sometimes have fabric on them or wood backs. These need very careful cleaning! You don't want to get old fabric wet because it'll just disintegrate. Wood can also fall apart. If in doubt, just surface clean with a dry Q-Tip and move on.

Often there are military buttons or uniform buttons on a string from family members who served in various wars or organizations. These are usually brass, and some have a thin layer of gold on top of the brass- a gilt layer. Surface wipe away the grunge and grime with the dry Q-Tips, brush with the brass brush, wipe again, then polish using the Simichrome and buff to a nice shine!

Some buttonologists use a Dremel tool with brass brush wheels to clean buttons. I like the hands on approach better due to the control I have, and less chance of severing a fragile cotton string with the spinning brush wheel!

This string had an old Navy button with the left facing eagle (on May 14, 1914 an order was made that the eagle was to face right, so left facing eagles on buttons are prior to 1914. This Navy button is from around 1854 or before. Officers continued to wear these buttons up to 1902. There was also a Civil War era brass infantry button (identified by the capital letter I on the shield on the eagle's chest.)
You can find buttons dating back to Revolutionary War days on some strings! Or Colonial era pearl buttons and metal buttons including brass and copper.

This string also had a lot of hard rubber buttons, popular from just before the Civil War and after. There was some small colored charmstring glass buttons, a lot of black glass buttons and about five ruby red glass buttons.

Every charmstring is different and tells a different story.

I carefully document where I obtain each string, when and how much I paid for it. Each string is given a number and tagged with the basic info- date purchased, number of buttons on the string, price paid and location where it came from. I then photograph the string. I list the more interesting buttons ont he string and keep a binder with a picture and the description of the buttons in it.

Kelly helped me set up the where the majority of my collection is shown. I need to catch it up to date- have been busy with writing projects for the last year, so not all of them are there yet. There are also pictures of other charmstrings people have given us to post on the site, some articles about charmstrings, and some old pictures of young ladies with their charmstrings.

That is my other passion besides writing- button strings! I collect as many as I can find to preserve them for future generations to marvel at, because you just don't see buttons like that anymore in today's disposable society! Buttons were cut off clothing when the clothes wore out and reused on new articles of clothing. That's where the button box came into play. From the 1860's to early 1900's young ladies raided the family button boxes to find buttons to add to their charmstrings. Other buttons came from friends and acquaintances. It was a fad, a hobby for girls, much like collecting and trading marbles and baseball cards were for boys.

Many charmstrings have fallen victim to age- falling apart. Others have fallen victim to button dealers who have dismantled them in order to sell the buttons individually. My goal is to find and preserve 100 of these nostalgic relics from the past. I have 94 of them at present so am getting closer to my goal!

Maybe one day I'll write a book about charmstrings- I certainly have enough buttons in my house to illustrate the book with!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

XRAYS and Waiting

I went to the doctor today for the back pain and muscle spasms. After being poked and prodded and doing range of motion twists and turns I was sent to the hospital for a series of xrays since no one has ever done any xrays of my spine and these episodes of muscle spasms happen once a year for no apparent reason (but I have had a major fall down my cellar stairs when both of my feet just went out from under me and I landed on a corner of the stair hard enough to see stars and give myself a technicolor butt and two bad falls down the back deck stairs due to ice since living in this house). I also have rheumatoid arthritis and have odd flares in single joints, so this could be related to that. Or I slept wrong? I don't know. But I had about eight or nine xrays taken today from thoracic spine to tailbone plus SI joints (hips). The doctor should have the report back on the films tomorrow or Friday at the latest. I'm hoping nothing bad shows up...but today I am doing better. No humongous back spasms and I was able to climb up and down the stairs to go to my appointment. I really need to sell this house and move to an all one level flat on the ground house so I can get in and out of it without killing myself! I'm going to try to go back to work tomorrow...we'll see how it goes.

Off to do a little NaNo writing before bedtime.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Low Back Pain

I've had low back pain for years, and episodes of low back muscle spasms that have resolved in a couple of days...and I have been guilty of rolling my eyes and ridiculing people who use pain medication as a crutch, but after three days of severe low back muscle spasms and a huge disruption of my day to day activities and LIFE I am ready to admit that I have been wrong. Back pain is legitimate. I still am NOT a fan nor an advocate for opioids which have ruined the lives of many much like opium dens ruined the lives of many in Victorian and Edwardian times. I am not one who wants my jaw to rot away and my teeth to fall out from opioid abuse. I am for muscle relaxers, but not for people driving around while on this medication- the one I am currently on gives me episodes of wooziness and weird visual effects- like jumpiness. I also seem to lose short stretches of time in the blink of an eye...inattention or actual conscious blips in the space time continuum? I don't know. It's rather freaky, but better than the truly horrific nightmares I had on the previous medication. I also can sleep the entire day away on this medication.

I am tired of feeling like I have shockwaves rolling down my spine and kicking me in the butt whenever I move.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Collections: Bears, Books, Buttons, Barbie, Bottles and Camels

I was an avid collector of teddy bears in the 1980's through 1992. I sold off much of my teddy bear collection after Kelly was born to make room in the house for a baby and all the things baby's require as they grow into active children, teenagers and young adults. I repurchased some of my bears and now have a limited collection of my favorite Steiff mohair bears and Hermann mohair teddy bears.

Another passion of mine is books. I collect books by my favorite authors. I have them in hardcover, paperback and as Nook books. I also have a passion for books about words- dictionaries, thesauruses, and word origin books as well as backwards dictionaries, books on antonyms, synonyms and homonyms. Unfortunately I'm married to a man who wants to build things but won't drive a nail into the wall to hang a bookshelf. My library is stored in file cartons in the basement where I cannot access them- a huge disappointment and frustration. My dream has always been to have a library in my home...but I don't think that's ever going to happen.

My third 'B' passion is buttons. I began collecting vintage and antique clothing buttons in 2003. I used to collect all sorts of buttons but over the years I've focused my collection to Victorian and earlier buttons, but do like some Edwardian era buttons. I also have focused my collection on charmstrings. A charmstring is a long string of beautiful buttons. The fad was popular from the mid-1800's to the early 1900's. It was popular with young girls who collected buttons from family members and friends for their memory or charm strings. They could not buy buttons, they had to swap and trade and try to have all different buttons on their strings. Those called memory strings also included small objects like hand-carved miniature peach pit baskets, tiny metal doll spoons, rings, bits of broken jewelry, love token, commemorative tokens, coins with holes drilled through them for easier stringing, and other odd objects, such as a bear's claw. The goal was to string 999 buttons. The 1000th button would be given to the girl by the man she was destined to marry. Many strings didn't reach that length. Some grew even longer. Many were divided between sisters who each took a section with them when they married or moved away. Most ended up being dismantled, but there are some still in existence found in old estates in trunks in attics, wrapped in fabric and stored in unusual places. I have charmstrings and the containers they were found in- one was found in an oblong leather soap box, another in a hand-thrown, three-handled bean pot and a third in a chocolate wafer cookie tin. Some strings have little scraps of paper attached with info on individuals who donated the button- such as 'button from grandmother's wedding dress'. Occasionally there's some information about the string. In 1877 Kate Turner collected 1000 buttons and mounted them in a pattern in a shadow box frame decorated with red cording around the inside for an exhibition of some sort. The framed buttons must have been hung on a wall for some time as the hard rubber buttons had turned brown from light exposure, except where covered by another button...leaving curiously black and brown buttons.

Today I attended the Massachusetts State Button Society show in Three Rivers, MA. I came home with three Colonial era metal coat buttons and five Japanese Satsuma porcelain/pottery buttons. Until today I had zero of each of those types in my collection, and no interest in Satsuma's whatsoever, but today the patterns on them caught my eye. I chose four medium and one small. I also snagged another peacock eye button- glass with shimmery blue and green foil underneath. It'll go on a charmstring I plan on making soon.

My other 'B' hobby is vintage Barbie. When I was little my first Barbie doll was a 1962 titian ponytail doll in a red jersey bathing suit. (Prior to Barbie, or maybe it was simultaneous to her?) I had a red-haired Pebbles Flintstone doll. My maternal grandfather loved redheads. I have a picture of him holding Pebbles but not Barbie. Of course the photo is black and white, but I know he's holding my doll because she's a redhead! So, I'm thinking I inherited that trait, an affinity to redheads, from him? Many of my characters in my books have female main characters with red hair. That gets commented on a lot. But here's what that's all about- my goddaughter is a redhead. Every time I write a female lead with red hair it's a wink to her to let her know I love her.

My other hobby starts with a 'C' and that's camels. Ever since I was a little girl I have had this things for camels. This originates from the nativity or manger scene our small town put up every year on the town green. There were three camels and I loved them! They were so exotic and noble looking. When I was like eight or nine years old my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I replied, "A camel." I received a plastic toy camel from Italy. I still have that camel, and many more besides- plastic, plush, bisque, chalkware, china, brass, etc. I also have a replica camel bell from when the army used camels out west as beasts of burden, and then released them in the desert. I think that wads just after the Civil War? I own two lamps with camel figurine bases, a small standing camel ink well and a large lying down camel ink well, both brass. I prefer dromedaries (one hump) over bacitrans (two humps). My weird obsession with camels led to the Christmas story Bruce that is published in Together for the Holidays. Tying my two hobbies together- I've managed to put together five collector cards of various camel buttons. You wouldn't think there'd be that many buttons with images of camels on them, but there are, from UK livery buttons with the head of a camel, or a full body camel on them to buttons that look like dollhouse miniatures of vintage Camel cigarettes package (oddly enough, my great-grandmother lived with us in her own apartment and smoked unfiltered Camel cigarettes, so that might also be why I like camels, gazing at the camel and the pyramid on her cigarette packs).

Kelly also has 'B' hobbies- books and buttons are among them, but she also collections vintage and antique soda bottles. She has a nice collection of mid-1800's Buffum soda, mineral water, beer and porter bottles. Originally the first half dozen of those bottles were mine, displayed in the china cabinet with other Buffum items. Then she showed an interest in them and I passed them to her, which gave me more room for my own stuff in the china cabinet which has some glassware in it but no china!

Kelly also collection antique ink bottles and Victorian era fire grenades which are like pretty colored glass bottles in which there was a chemical. They were hung on the walls of Victorian homes and used as fire extinguishers. You just threw the bottle at the fire and hoped the chemical fluid inside would slow the fire until the fire wagon arrived! She also collects vintage trolley and some train photographs and postcards. She inherited two stamp collections that basically fill her closet. Her uncle is a philatelist (not sure of the spelling of that!) She also has quite a few N-scale model railroad cars, some track and accessories, and a train layout table. Her other passion is LEGO- the creator limited edition city buildings and the trains, of course! I hope one day she has a home with a very large cellar where she can set up the entire city street, the haunted house and all the train sets!

I'm from a family of collectors. My husband on the other hand just doesn't comprehend the whole collecting thing. he has very few interests outside of television which he is glued to for hours and hours on end.

Kelly and I thoroughly enjoy our hobbies and have made all kinds of interesting friends because of them. I think it's healthy and informative to have hobbies and to belong to groups where people have the same hobby. There is so much history in clothing buttons. A lot of people collect military and political clothing buttons...not pinbacks, but actual buttons. The George Washington inaugural buttons sell for small fortunes because of their scarcity.

Then, of course, my other hobby is writing. I do quite a bit of that!! (Kelly does to, to a lesser degree)

Friday, November 11, 2016


As I was walking out the employee entrance from work tonight I could hear a young man cursing foully and loudly. I looked left and saw him pacing around in the middle of the exit roadway talking on his cellphone. Straight ahead of me was a car I didn't recognized in the reserved Doctor's and Practitioners area. I headed to the brand new rental car in case the guy was nuts or made because he couldn't get his never know in the medical profession. My co-worker's car was already gone so the Corolla was by itself. I started it and began to back out, but a van came along and pulled in beside me. I recognized it as belonging to another coworker who parks on the other side of the building. She and her sister bailed out and began walking fast toward the employee entrance. I could see the young man now pacing in the parking lot of the building next door, still on his phone. I turned my head to check where my co-workers were because it was just past 5PM and people were coming out behind me. Everyone was bunched up by the door.

An odd smell had followed me into the car. As I turned my head back to see where the guy was I noticed the hood of the car was up and holy smoke! No, great balls of FIRE! Flames were up over the top of the open hood in the entire engine compartment. Now I understood why the guy was flipping out- his car was on fire! (There's also a tree right there where his car was that was in danger of catching on fire because it was windy!) And there I sat in the brand new 2017 Corolla rental car with less that 20 miles on it just a couple of spaces to the right of the burning car...great! In my possession less than 24-hours and already close to a disaster!

Needless to say, I moved the car quickly out of the danger of explosion zone. As I passed the burning car I glimpsed one of the practitioners coming quickly down the long hallway toward the exit because his vehicle was two spaces to the left of the vehicle fire!

Talk about an exiting end to the day!

Tonight when Kelly and I passed by the parking lot on our way to run some errands just over an hour and a quarter later the parking lot was empty. I saw my coworker and her sister at the grocery store and she said the fire was extinguished quickly and everything was under control pretty fast. Good news, except for the poor owner of the burning car!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Still recovering from this past Monday's less than pleasant toot extraction. It was a right lower molar with a big, old filling that I'm guessing fractured when I was eating popcorn. I tend to crunch the kernels that aren't quite popped. The following afternoon a piece of the fractured inside corner broke off when I popped a piece of candy corn in my mouth and began chewing. My dentist removed another broken piece a week ago this past Monday and scheduled me for this extraction when it was obvious there wouldn't be enough tooth left to save.

So off to Maine I went for a few days with a  broken tooth and the prospect of a tooth extraction on my last day of vacation. Came home, John took me to the dentist this past Monday. While attempting to rock the tooth out another piece broke, resulting in an alternative measure having to be employed. Let's just say- OUCH. The tooth came out after my jaw was wrenched around, although one of the technicians held my jaw to prevent it from breaking, I suppose. I had one suture put in and was sent home with an antibiotic. I refused pain medication because I'm intolerant of opiods and allergic to of the more challenging aspects of my life.

Mid-afternoon he novacaine began to wear off. Ice packs were applied to try to control the swelling, but still I looked like I'd gone around in the ring and lost. There's still swelling but it's a little bit better. I'm on a diet of mushy foods that don't require chewing. Today's gourmet lunch was Progresso Cheddar, Potato, Broccoli soup. I am not a fan of soup but I was hungry, so I ate it. The potatoes were a little chewy, but the broccoli was just flecks of green floating in the thick, yellow creamy broth. For canned soup it was edible- either that or I was starving.

We've been eating mushy chicken stew since Monday night. John made that for me. I'll bring the last of it to work for lunch tomorrow. Don't know what I'll be able to manage tomorrow,

So I'm recovering...concentrating on writing my NaNo novel, and trying not to smile and laugh too much. Kind of hard for me not to laugh!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Novel Progress

Well, this morning I had a broken molar extracted. It's the last day of my short vacation this year. I came home fromt he dentist around 10:30AM with a cheek full of gauze, which I hate, so to distract myself I worked on my NaNo novel. It sort of became an all day project except for a couple of hours this afternoon when the novacaine was wearing off. I took a nap in the living room recliner with Revere and an ice pack for my jaw. I haven't felt much like eating today, especially soft cold foods which was recommended. I managed some very soft, mashed up lukewarm chicken stew- mostly baby carrots and potatoes and shredded chicken, for dinner, then a bowl of lukewarm cream of wheat cereal because I skipped lunch. No hot coffee. No hot tea today. Just powered by cool water all day.

Tonight I reached 42,005 words and probably could have continued, but I need to get some sleep. Time to pop a couple of Tylenol Extra Strength caplets and call it a day.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Author in Tears

Well, today was certainly a surprise. We got home from a few days of writing in Maine, grabbed lunch then raced off downtown for an official NaNo Write-in at Blue Umbrella Books here in town. Kelly and I were the only two writers to show up, but that was fine. It was the perfect venue for a write-in- a bookstore!

I was writing along and, as usual, I just write and don't know really where the novel is heading at any given time until it reaches its destination. Suddenly I burst into tears right there in the middle of the bookstore because I had just killed off a character- a minor main character, but I didn't see it coming. The plot just twisted that way and caught me off guard.

I teared up again a little while later when another plot twist hit an emotional chord in me.

Two emotional moments in two hours while writing in public...but that's how writers can be. We create characters who become living, breathing people in our minds- and it's a shock when one dies (even though we're the creator and the murderer of the character- although we typically assign that terrible deed to another character we've created to perform that task.) Jessica was funny, she heard me sob, but politely did not interfere. Explained to her afterwards what that was all about.

Back to writing! Having a molar pulled tomorrow...that will stress me out and interfere with the writing! Might just read tomorrow and do a little writing after dinner, depending on how my mouth feels! Need to get as much done tonight as I can!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

21,500 Words in 5 Days

I've been writing like a maniac the past few days while vacationing in Maine. We've done some antiquing and traveling here and there to see the ocean but with darkness falling sooner we've found ourselves returning to the condo sooner and that has meant more writing time for Kelly and me.

I've managed 21,500 words so far. Kelly has reached 10,300 words today. I'm so proud of her for settling down with a good idea and running with it. She's had a few moments of wondering if she can draw the story out to novel length, but I have faith in her ability to bring it home, even if she just reaches 50,000 words. If she meets the goal she will have succeeded.

Tomorrow we'll be writing at Blue Umbrella Books in downtown Westfield, MA. I was thrilled when Jessica Martin jumped right onboard and registered as an official NaNoWriMo write-in site. She has been so supportive of local authors and writers in western MA since opening her book store in July of this year. She hosts author events, read ins, book discussions, provides a location for a local writer's group to meet and work, and so much more! It's an awesome little indie store! We're so fortunate to have her in town.

Five days into NaNoWriMo and we're off to a good start!