As I mentioned in my previous post, I have to do an internship this semester for college. It was up to me to make the arrangements so I looked for one that filled in gaps in my knowledge of library science. It took a lot of calls to a lot of organizations, but I finally hit upon what I think is the perfect one: photo archiving for a college. I have no experience in an academic library, nor in archiving. Cool beans.

The work so far is labeling pictures, matching them up with the negatives, organizing them chronologically. I was born for this work, I see now. I see myself as more of a facilitator than anything else, and organizing things for other people to easily find what they need fits right in with that. At least, this is my initial impression from two work sessions.

Oh, AND there's no air freshener. Yay.

Hopefully it won't be all labeling. My boss plans to take me with him to other archives in OKC to see their techniques. I'm also hoping to get a crack at the Library of Congress cataloging system, since I've only used the Dewey Decimal System.

I thought I was busy last semester, but this one has me driving all over the damn place. Forty-five minute drive north to Rose State twice a week and almost an hour south to Ada to take biology exams. Plus working all the other days. It was like pulling teeth to be able to get off the same two days every week. 

One good thing about being so busy is I don't have time for my social anxiety to kick in.

Let's see, what else... I bought another memory foam mattress pad for my futon to hopefully get enough cushioning so I can't feel the bar in my back. My whole body aches from that stupid futon. Only problem with the pad is that the foam offgasses so much it gave me a headache, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes just from being in the house while it expanded. I had to put it out in the porch room till it calms down, so I still haven't slept on it. I think it's going to be nice, though. 
Friday, February 14, 2014
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

fragrant limits

I don't talk about fragrance issues much anymore because I realized how it was negatively affecting my outlook. Also because I figured everyone was tired of hearing about it. Now that I'm back in the world, though, I'm finding my limits on the fragrance all over again and thought it was time for an update.

I stopped going to garage sales when I realized pretty much everything besides metal and glass soaks up fragrance: plastic, cloth, wood, paper, pottery, ivory. This means the things I would normally shop for at a garage sale I can't buy, like books, Tupperware, furniture, and clothes. Over the summer I tried it again since my techniques for getting out smell have improved over the years. We got a few sweaters and a pair of jeans that actually worked out, but several items never did release their smell. Into the garbage with those jokers. Even with the successful ones I get a full dose during the de-smelling process. Despite greater success, the reward is not worth the work. Wal-mart clothes don't cling to a scent.

(Speaking of clothes, the boy told me this morning he's outgrown his new jeans already. Sigh. It never ends, does it?)

I've reached an equilibrium at work. My library doesn't use air fresheners (yet), but people are people and so I encounter eye-watering fragrance on a daily basis. My position as a shelver makes it easier to move to another area, but if a coworker is wearing it I just resign myself to the eventual headache. I like my coworkers a lot, and it's hard to stay away from them.

Only a theory before, I know now for a fact that I can not work in a building with "freshened" air. But I have found that there's a limit to my fragrance-induced headaches when working with the public, so that's heartening. I could probably take a class in a real classroom without fear. A full-time job is not out of the question, as long as I didn't work closely with others the whole time. Right now I'm in the midst of finding an internship for this college class I'm taking, and the fragrance issue is in the back of my mind. If nothing else, it will be another test of my limits. I will have another benchmark, for good or bad.

For a long time I didn't let my children sleep over at friends' houses, nor have other kids over to ours. Now that they're older and have grown up with the concept of fragrance sensitivity they have no problem explaining it to their friends. They aren't offended when they have to play outside. The thing is, now that I know my limits better, I can calculate the risks of having a smelly child over and sometimes it works out. We've even had a couple sleep over.

This might not sound like a big deal to you, but to me it's huge. Not only from a fragrance perspective, but from a social one also. As a child I rarely went to friends' houses, and virtually never had anyone over to mine. So I've been very nervous about this aspect of my kids' social lives. I know how important it is to be comfortable letting others into your home, and you can only get this way with practice.

So, yeah. Limits. When you feel like your pain is limitless you're usually wrong. I'm dealing with my limitations, or trying to, instead of being a recluse. I just do as much as I can and try to shake off the rest. Though I don't think I'll ever get used to telling people their perfume makes me sick.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Posted by Sherri Cornelius


I've been a bad friend. Well, a bad Facebook friend, anyway, which tranlates to real-friend in some cases. Folks are having interesting happenings and life events and such, but I'm not participating in much of it aside from likes and the occasional share. Let me say this for the record: It's not you, it's me.

My throat is corked up tight. When I uncork it I say something I shouldn't, so I ram the cork right back in. I don't think my shouldn't-have-saids are worse than they were before the cork, but my own reaction is. For some reason I've become terrified of offending, with my opinions or exuberance or faux pas. When I look back at how I used to blog, just spilling whatever on the screen and hitting publish, a cold chill washes over me and the cork sticks tighter.

Yet I can see why this has happened. My network is giant compared to 7 or 8 years ago. I've deliberately included all different kinds of people in my social networks and I've started working in the public again. It seems like my foot is planted in my mouth several times a day, and I just wonder how the fuck anybody goes through daily social interaction with their confidence intact.

Anyway, I've been working on this blog post for three days now, and this is as far as I've gotten. I worry that someone is going to be offended that I said fuck in the previous paragraph. I worry that someone will think I'm melodramatic or stupid or trashy. I'm afraid if I bring up any important issue I won't be able to support my arguments, because I probably won't be able to. You know, because of that cork in my throat. Even if I'm only typing.

I know where the cork came from. I put it there. I put it there several years ago because I was in a situation that didn't lend itself to advertisement. When I'd put out a sentence here and there it felt bad, so I pushed those things down. Then when I got a job after years of relative isolation, I couldn't remember the etiquette of a work environment so I screwed the cork in tighter. Loose lips sink ships, you know, and I'm an oversharer if there ever was one.

At any rate, I'm starting to choke on the cork. I'm starting to realize that social awkwardness is simply a part of my personality, and it might be simply my own perception of it that is awkward. I hold back when I should emote, but a kind listener can bring it all out at once. I want to write books again. I have a permanent crick in my neck from the tension, and I know writing would help loosen it. Hopefully if I uncork like this regularly, it'll get easier. I have to do something.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Posted by Sherri Cornelius


You ever feel like you're doing it all wrong, but you don't even know what "it all" is? That's the way I've been feeling. For a while I had purpose. Everything fell into place as I made great, comfortable strides toward some undefined goal. Actually, I guess the goal was the action, after years of stagnation, and so it felt good to meet the goal.

But I don't know, I've just felt like I got off track somewhere and I can't tell where. I feel like I'm failing, like I blew past an important juncture and it's too late to backtrack.

This morning I tried to remember what I used to do to blow off steam. Many years ago I'd drink and hang out with friends, find a guy to flirt with. After I got married I'd go to garage sales and find projects around the house to do. That's also when I started writing seriously. I started blogging and that was a tremendous help in keeping my sanity as an isolated mother of small children. Then I started getting too much traffic to feel comfortable spilling my guts, but I found I didn't have much else to spill. Household projects I used to enjoy became too large for me to do on my own.

The final blow to my serenity has been college. I'm doing well, but the work is always there like a specter hovering over my shoulder. There is no time to find a new outlet for my anxiety, much less implement it. In a way, I'm more isolated than I was before I came back to the world, despite working with a great group of women at the library.

Maybe my life is changing to fast to keep up with, and I feel like I'm leaving part of myself behind. Maybe that's all it is.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

bees aren't this busy.

I have homework to do, but when is that not the case? Never, that's when. If I mention homework in a blog post does that count towards homework time? I knitted a hat over the weekend, knowing I should have been reading my Western Civilization chapter. Naughty me. I just have to have a break sometimes. house is dirtier than it used to be. While I was a stay-at-home mother I felt unappreciated and resentful about all the housework I had to do. I never felt like I got enough done. Now I'm amazed at how much I was able to accomplish. The soap-making, the knitting, the cooking, the fridge cleaning... It takes less time to hold my breath when I have to get milk out of the fridge than it does to clean it.

I'd like to have the time to finish this website. I wish I could read a book. I'd love to help my friends promote their books. 

When I started taking classes toward my long-postponed bachelor's degree, I truly had no idea the work load would be so heavy. I don't remember doing this much when I was in college full time. Like, maybe one assignment per week per class, with the larger chapters broken up over a couple of weeks. In each of these classes I have a chapter per week with a related lecture, quiz, and discussion, plus several short papers over the semester. It says a lot that I feel more pressed for time now than when I was taking 18 hours and working full time with time to party left over.

But I have kids now--a full time job in itself, running them around. And in online classes they can only track us by our online work, and that means writing and assessments.

It's just the nature of the beast (which apparently lives in my fridge).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Sharp, Glittering Things

I have an artist and writer friend named Marta. It's her art you're looking at right now. She's commented here many times, because like I said, we're friends. Well now Marta's living her dream. Her debut novel, The Blue Jar, will be out in a little under a month! I can't wait to buy it.

To give you a little taste of Marta's writing (yum yum) I thought I'd post one of her fairy tales that I happen to love. Later on as the release date gets closer, I'll see if I can't post an excerpt of The Blue Jar with links and everything. But for now, enjoy!

Sharp, Glittering Things
by Marta Pelrine-Bacon
copyright 2011

Clarice possessed a fascination for sharp, glittering things. In her upstairs room she kept knives, needles, and razors hidden in a red box under her bed. Almost every one of them was stolen. Her mother couldn’t even abide the sight of cutlery and the sight of blood made her faint.

Clarice didn’t understand her mother at all. Everything had to be soft. Edges were rounded or padded. Once Clarice had gotten a paper cut and her mother had nearly banned all books. Even so, now she had to wear white gloves to turn a page.

Then there was the nightmare of birthdays. Clarice hated birthdays. Her mother spent hours at the guest list. She never crossed off a name but added and added. Every year, as the children made more friends she had to lengthen the list. Everyone in the house had to check the list so many times they could recite the names in their dreams.

A maid did all the cooking, so the children were not allowed in the kitchen and all the food was served cut into pieces for them. The children were not to lose the smallest drop of blood. Nannies and tutors were fired if one of the children scuffed a knee.

Nor did her mother sleep well. “I’ve slept enough already for several lifetimes,” her mother would say. Late at night her mother stayed curled up on the sofa and stared at the television. She watched movies and shows of other worlds and times and great adventures.

On the night of her sixteenth birthday, Clarice snuck out of her room. For years, she’d imagined being out, unmissed and unguarded, and the first step beyond the sight of the house sent a thrill through her heart.

Clarice had planned to wander. She wanted to take her time. Touch lampposts. Run her fingers along brick walls. Stop in a diner and order food that required a knife.

For her adventure she took thinnest sharpest blade from the red box and slipped in the side of boot. When she stepped out the back door, the knife’s edge pressed into her ankle, but she didn’t stop to check her skin.

The shadows of the nighttime world surprised her in spite of all the stories she’d read in preparation. She couldn’t shake the feeling the shadows were the cloaks of ghosts as if they’d been there all this time waiting for her. She decided to find a place to sit and think about her plans.

At the first bench she came to sat an old woman. Clarice had no fear of an old woman, and so she sat at the other end of the bench. She took her lipstick and a mirror out of her purse.

“That’s a very pretty shade of lipstick, dear,” the old woman said.

“Thanks. It’s called True Red,” Clarice replied. “Or something like that.”

“A good color for a girl wanting adventure.” The old woman worked at the many rings around her fingers.

Clarice laughed. “What are you doing out here at this hour? My parents always tell me the world isn’t safe for old people and children after dark.”

“You’re here too,” the old woman said. “You can’t listen to your parents and my parents have long been dead.”

“My parents are afraid of everything. Especially my mom.”

The old woman nodded. “Parents want to protect their children. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“Were you like that? With your kids, I mean.”

“I never had children of my own.” She continued to twist her rings.

“Those are pretty rings,” Clarice said, feeling she should give the woman a compliment as well.

The old woman held her hands out in front of her with her fingers outstretched. The silver bands, some with stones, gleamed in the streetlight. “Thank you, dear. Though I’m really getting too old for such frippery.”

“Such what?”

The old woman smiled. “Which ring do you like best?”

“Oh. Well. That’s hard to say. But, if I had to choose, I guess I’d choose that one with the stars.” A stream of sharp-pointed stars wrapped around the woman’s gnarled finger.

“Good choice.” She slipped the ring off. “Here, dear. It’s for you.”

Clarice sat up straighter. The ring wasn’t candy from a stranger exactly, but her mother would see it the same way. “Good heavens, ma’am. I can’t take that. You don’t even know me.”

“I’m old and have no children,” the woman said. “I had a son once.” Her voice trailed off. “You’re young and have adventure waiting for you. Take it and you’ll remember me. You’ll be about the only person to do so.”

Clarice let the woman place the ring in her hand. “Thank you. That’s very kind.”

“Go on and put it on.”

“I hope it isn’t too big.” The ring rested in Clarice’s open palm.

“It will fit. I promise. On your ring finger—like you’re getting married.”

“I’m too young to get married.” Clarice wasn’t sure what to make of the old woman’s smile, but she put the ring on like she was told, and just as the old woman promised the ring felt as if it had been made for her. “You know,” said Clarice, “you don’t seem that old.”

“It’s hard for the young and inexperienced to know what they see.”

“I wish had something to give you…wait.” Clarice took the knife from her boot. “You could take this. You could use it to protect yourself.”

“Then what would you have for protection, dear?”

“Oh, I’ve got a box of knives under my bed at home.”

“That’s too far away now to be of much use,” the old woman said, taking the knife from the girl.

“So you think my parents are right then—the world is a much too dangerous place?” It seemed to Clarice the old woman was looking less and less old and strangely less womanly.

The old woman straightened her back. “What is dangerous to some is thrilling to others.”

Clarice frowned. She must be more tired than she realized. The shadows played tricks on her mind. The old woman didn’t even sound like a woman anymore. “You said you have a son.”

“Hmm.” The woman worried the knife handle between her fingers.

“It’s odd,” Clarice said. “Looking at you now, I can see what he looks like. It’s amazing, really. I could almost trick myself into thinking I’m talking to him instead of to you.”

“The eyes play all kinds of tricks in the dark, my dear.”

Clarice imagined the old woman’s voice was deeper. “Do you like the knife?”

“I do,” came the answer. “But is already has a bit of blood on it.”

“My ankle. I’m sorry. I’ll clean it off.” She reached for the blade but the woman—or rather the old woman who looked more and more like a young man—moved the knife beyond her grasp.

“What’s a moon without a night sky to shine in? What’s a sharp edge without something to cut?”

Clarice watched as the old woman stood up, straighter and taller and more assured than ought to have been possible. “I think I need to get home,” she said.

“I think,” the old woman said and leaned over the girl, “that parents can’t protect their children from everything. Danger always has a way of getting in.”


Read more stories Marta's shiny, new website! Like her Facebook Page for updates.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

blue screen of death (in another word, life)

See more on Know Your Meme

Sore throat. It started the other night when the a/c was broken and we had to leave the windows open. Someone was burning brush or having a campfire and the smoke, and it irritated my throat. Then I was distracted with problems, but it came back full force last night. So I don't know if it was related to the smoke or if my immune system couldn't keep up with the stress. Oh, I know--stress related heartburn.

I was having really scary computer problems, like, blue screen of death problems. If I'd had a Windows cd I probably would have wiped the drive and reinstalled Windows 7. As it happens, though, I don't have an installation cd so I had to work around it. I ran diagnostics, virus scans, repair utilities. Finally it grabbed enough of a toehold to install some automatic Windows updates, and two rounds of that seems to have fixed whatever error had occurred. I was just on the verge of installing Ubuntu when it started working properly again. Windows was scared, I guess.

So I made a repair disk and now I'm backing up my data. I might keep Ubuntu handy in case Windows goes kaput again, and I'll probably try it out via thumb drive. I've always wanted to try it. There were a few days of panic as I tried and failed to do schoolwork on my other two computers. One is 8 years old and barely runs, but the newer (yet still old) laptop has a bad DVD player. I kept having to hop back and forth and work around the kids as they claimed their computer time. Finally I looked at my syllabus to see what exactly was urgently due this weekend, and I saw I had already done it. Oh. Okay. Whew.

A sequel to Skin & Scales is starting to gel, but I don't know when I'll be able to write it. S&S is getting a few downloads and starting to collect reviews, and the two free shorts are still getting regular downloads. I'll be submitting S&S to my library system's HQ for possible inclusion in the collection. That would be pretty darn awesome. I need to buy some more copies to have on hand for sale.

I'll have to fit in a nap somewhere today, as the teenager pulled some shenanigans last night which kept me awake till 5 a.m. Ah, high school. Hopefully this is a lesson learned and not the beginning of a pattern. It's a good story, but I won't tell it until she's grown.

So that's what's happening here. I'll be working on my website later, getting links and pages working and adding stories if I have time. Fun stuff.

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