Archive for December 2008

Year-end meme

Borrowed from What I Got So Far. He can have it back when I'm done.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Had writer's block. Real writer's block, not "I don't know what to write," but "I'm too frozen with fear to write."

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I always resolve to do more things just for pleasure. I usually keep that resolution.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
No real ones. Only the ones I made up.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A book deal.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 17, because...well I'll just be cryptic here and say it was a great day of personal growth. And it's the only event I can actually remember the date for.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Overcoming my shyness and pitching my book at the OWFI conference in May.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Truthfully? I don't think I had any big failures. And if I did fail at something I ended up better for it, so that's success, too.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, the fragrance sensitivity, though I didn't know what it was till late this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Fragrance-free household products.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Though it came late in the year, my husband's.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
This girl whom I can not name because I'm afraid she would scream at me by email again. Wait, two girls.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Utilities and mortgage. Boring, I know.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Several things. My meeting with the editor at the con, then getting my office insulated so I could work up there. Also getting out from under the writer's block.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Maybe Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Linkin Park

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
Happier, fatter, and richer even though we have less money.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Obsess over things I can't control.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I hosted a giftless Christmas, the best Christmas I think I've ever had.

21. Did you meet/date anyone special in 2008?
Only my husband.

[22 is missing]

23. How many one-night stands?
Five. The number of times my husband and I made whoopie. Just kidding.

24. What was your favourite TV program?
30 Rock and Friends reruns

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope. Still zero.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Time Traveler's Wife.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Linkin Park

28. What did you want and get?

29. What did you want and not get?
A book deal.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
I honestly can't remember any films I loved. The one that sticks in my head was a few years old that I saw on TV, with Bill Murray as a Jaques Cousteau type guy, his name started with a Z...

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I did nothing and I was 38.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Some boobs. Oh wait, that was WIGSF's answer. I have those, and let me tell ya, it ain't all that. My REAL answer is: finishing BVAl and starting the next project.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

34. What kept you sane?
I felt fairly unstable all year.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Well, Johnny Depp is always right up there.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I hate politics.

[37 is missing]

38. Who was the best new person you met?
The editor at the conference, IF he ever answers my agent's query. But that will obviously be next year. Does that count, if he doesn't actually impact me until the year is over?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
You really do teach people how to treat you.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

"Wish You Were Here" -Pink Floyd
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
Tag :


For some reason, people are finding this blog via the search term "ass". Do I say "ass" a lot? Maybe I do. But do I say it so much that it would show up in a search engine as an authority on ass? Maybe it's because some time ago Dwight put a link to a picture of a horse's ass (another term I get in my search column) in the comments.

Well, for whatever reason, I feel I must solidify my place as the site to come to when you're wanting ass.

So to that *ahem* end:

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Come on, spammers.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
Tag : ,

A new fence for 2009

I had a great writing day yesterday. I wrote for 3 whole hours while Richard stayed downstairs with the 2 little kids, and the two bigger kids went shopping. I probably won't get that kind of time today, because today the Dallas Cowboys play the last regular season game. If they win, they clinch the second wild card spot.

I'm surprised to find I resent the time I won't be writing. I'm finding myself finding ways around it, like venturing out into the early morning cold to my office, making the children fend for themselves in the food department, or *gasp* skipping the game.

A good writing day can make the whole year seem better. For most of 2008 writing equated to pulling my own teeth out of my head with pliers. Actually, 2008 felt that way in most areas. I had to work hard to keep my enthusiasm, my sanity. When those things are hard to come by you start to wonder if you're fooling yourself. If maybe the sluggishness and self-doubt and confusion are the real feelings, and any attempt to counter-act them is just paint on a rotten fence.

So I guess I've spent the year rebuilding that fence, one picket at a time. Boy, does it hurt to pull off those rotten planks. Sometimes they don't look rotten, because of all those layers of paint. Sometimes I think, "Well I can't pull off that one, or the whole thing will fall apart." But the rot is spreading, so I pull it off and guess what: the fence doesn't fall apart. Instead, I have a nice clean space to put a new picket.

One of those pickets represents a fresh perspective on writing. Another is self-confidence, and isn't that a surprise. Another is a renewal of my marriage, and self-worth, and family.

I didn't realize how stressful this year was until the stress relaxed a little. I feel big changes coming next year, but I won't speculate on the nature of the changes. I'll just keep pulling off the rotten pickets so I'll have a place to nail those new ones when they're finally delivered.


It's always a little embarrassing reading old posts. They just reveal me as such a damn dork, and I don't see it till a year has past, and by then it's too late to yank 'em down. So since it's too late and everybody already knows I'm a dork, here are 2007 and 2006. Be kind.

Happy New Year, everybody.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

One mo 'ginn! *

I don't even know what to say about my Christmas. It was...teh awesome! I started the week thinking my holiday would consist of playing with the toys the kids opened that morning, but Monday my mom confirmed, and soon after both my brothers did, too. I could easily have gone off the deep end cleaning the baseboards with a toothbrush, but I chose to let them see my house as I live in it, which ain't that bad anyway. Except for the fridge, but every household has its junk room.

So I looked through the cookbook to find a couple of desserts I could make with minimal effort, went to the store on Tuesday afternoon for ingredients and sandwich supplies. No turkey. Sandwiches, a veggie platter, pumpkin pie from a can, and apple cobbler.
There was some exchanging of gifts when my mom got here, but I squeezed my eyes shut until it was over, and *presto* it's like it never happened.

I was amazed at how scentless everybody made themselves. There was a little residual scent that all people on the outside have, just from being around it all the time, but the effort they all put forth on my account was the best Christmas present ever. I was able to relax and have a great time with my family.

No Mary Tyler Moore party here. No disasters. Oh sure, I forgot to make coffee like I'd planned. I also forgot to take a single picture. I didn't have enough plastic cups. The bathroom shelves were a mess. That was the downside. And you know what? Nobody cared.

The upside? I guffawed with my brothers over nonsense. My first-ever apple cobbler was divine. My living room was stuffed full of people who love me. After months of feeling separated from the world by my scent problem, I reconnected.

Can we have Christmas every month?

* This is a family thing, baby-talk meaning "I want to go again!" I don't remember whose baby. Might have come from the hub's family.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Don't mind me...Just working through my issues

Since my resetting declaration in the previous post, I've really been thinking about why I feel such pressure and confusion at Christmas, whyI feel tremendous guilt for absolutely no reason, and why it's so hard for me to feel good about receiving gifts. Here are a few things I think may play a role in my weirdness.

  • I was very poor growing up. Heck, money's still damn tight right now. But I remember my mom's struggle to get us gifts, and how guilty I felt every year because of seeing how guilty she felt. And because I've always had to struggle to make the money stretch, I figure everybody else is in the same boat. Hence,

  • I feel I don't deserve to receive gifts. Or to have people care about me. Or to breathe. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suffering on a daily basis with this like I used to. I think that Christmas coming only once a year, and me trying to just put my head down and get through, has stunted the work I've done at Christmastime.

  • I've never been very good at parties in general. Besides Christmas parties I also avoid birthday parties and cookouts and masquerades. I could fill a book with my party-disaster stories. It's not only other people's parties. Every party I've ever had flopped. Hugely.

  • I feel like there are some Commandments of Social Behavior that everybody else received at birth, but I didn't.

I'm sure there's a lot more, but that's all I'm willing to look at right now.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Hitting the reset button

Been thinking a lot about Christmas and what it means to me. I've known for a while that most of the Christmas activities I partake in every year are solely for other people, not for me. I've never really given myself permission to have a Christmas I enjoy. I'm not even sure what kind of Christmas that would be.

Well, this year, with the emergence of the fragrance sensitivity, the normal activities will necessarily change. Going to my mom's will be an exercise in torture--purely in the physical sense, of course--if I know why I'm feeling like crap but can't get away from it. In years past I just felt like crap and stayed because I didn't know why.

Besides the fragrance, there is the exchange of gifts, a huge stressor for me. I almost feel like I have PTSD about the gifts. Every single year I feel this tremendous pressure to spend money I don't have in order to follow rules of giving which are not ingrained in me. I dread getting gifts, and I dread giving them, because then I might get some in return. Not to mention that I never feel my gifts are good enough.

Then there is the guilt. Guilt about not having the money; guilt about feeling sick at family gatherings that are supposed to be a happy time; guilt about all the family events I have missed over the year; guilt about celebrating a holiday that is named for a religion I do not follow. Lots of guilt for lots of nebulous other reasons.

I have decided to hit the reset button. This year I will not be attending any family events. I will buy gifts only for my children, and I asked my extended family to forgo any gifts for me. I would love for my extended family to come and hang out at my house with me, if they feel like indulging my need for scentlessness. My husband has surprised the hell out of me by volunteering to do the Christmas shopping, so that's one more pattern I've released.

I realized something in all this reset button-hitting. My ideal Christmas is quiet. Reverent. Small. I guess my idea of Christmas is sort of opposite of the rest of the world's, in that I feel it's more of a solitary thing. It's more about the God-given gifts, and I see how that could extend to family and friends and wanting to do something for them, but I want the desire to give gifts to grow naturally from the spirit, and it hasn't up to now. I have to find that spirit again, if ever I had it in the first place. I've been too distracted, too sick, too guilty at this time of year. I'm changing that now. Reset.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Look at my header...

Does my header look as bad on your screen as it does on mine? Has it been that way a long time? I wonder what happened.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
Tag :

Facebook me!

Any of you want to help an author build her platform? Go to my Facebook page (see the link in my upper left side bar?) and find the "blogs" tab on my profile. Once there, there should be a link to "join blog network." I'm pretty sure that joining my network won't affect your page, like making you install an app or something like that.

Once I get 15 readers, they'll put my blog's RSS feed on Facebook, which may help grow my readership and potential fan base.

Thanks for helping a girl out!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
Tag :

Sappy songs, anyone?

I try to hide my sappy side, but I don't think I do a very good job of it. I thought I'd share some of the songs that get me right here. I'm ashamed to admit these songs make me cry. I'm so weak.

I don't know how to imbed music here, so I'm imbedding the videos. For me, a video lessens the impact of a well-crafted song, so do me a favor and don't watch the videos. Close your eyes and listen to the words.

I remember the first time I heard "Don't Take the Girl." I worked at Wal-Mart's electronics department, back when it first came out. Early nineties. We always had a display radio playing, resenting when a customer changed the station. Well, that day a customer changed it to a country station, and my co-worker said, "Oh, I love this song. Sherri, have you heard this?"

Let me just skip to the end of the story where I'm sobbing in the middle of Wal-Mart, asking a lady customer to wait while I got myself under control. She just nodded with a smile of understanding.

"What Might Have Been" still makes me cry, too, but I don't remember when I first heard it. It reminds me how bad I am at letting go of people. Even when it's for the best. Heck, maybe because it's for the best.

And the ever-classic "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

The Spider and the Fly

My son is in 1st grade and reading pretty independently, but yesterday's book, The Spider and the Fly, was a bit out of his range. I don't mind reading the books he brings home. He loves anything scary or strange, and I often enjoy the books as much as he does. This one seems especially relevant for me at this point.

The illustrations by Tony DiTerlizzi are exquisite, done in the style of a silent movie, and add so much to the original poem that I must recommend you give it a look the next time you're in the library.

I copied the original poem (no copyright issues; it's in the public domain) from Storynory, which also features a good dramatic reading if you prefer to listen. As you read along, ask yourself, "Am I the fly?"

Text of The Spider and the fly by Mary Howitt (1799 to 1888):
“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, ”
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show you when you are there.”

“Oh no, no,” said the Fly, “to ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I’ve often heard it said
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!”

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, “Dear friend, what can I do
To prove that warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome - will you please take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “kind sir, that cannot be,
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”

“Sweet creature,” said the Spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf;
If you step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say;
And bidding good morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again;
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple, there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are as dull as lead.”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, Then near and nearer drew,

Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head - poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den
Within his little parlour - but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er heed;
Unto an evil counsellor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Hallelujah! I can see!

I'm feeling much better now. Well, not right now, because it's late and my eyes are tired. But overall, yeah. Much better.

Thanks to the mystery illness, I lost an entire week of editing the WIP. Thankfully I only lost the time and not the drive, so I jumped right back in it today. The only problem I had was not wanting to stop when it was break-time. It's so hard to get back in it once I've stopped, but I had to rest my eyes. I am quite pleased with the day's progress, even though it was short.

Well, The Big Bang Theory is coming on now, so I'll holler atcha later.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius
Tag :

Thoughts from the treadmill

I guess it's been about a week since I posted. For five of those seven days, my eyes have been closed, as they are right now. I can type blind. I have some weird cold or flu or sinus thing that has affected my vision. Isn't that weird? I'm not sneezy or runny, but I have enjoyed the return of the migraine, thanks to the vision problems. I think. It's hard to tell which came first. It's a combination of the sinus thing and the fragrance thing, as I've spent a lot of time around other people in the past week.

I appreciate the efforts of my SIL Rhonda to make her family as fragrance-free as possible when they came over last weekend. Brown Bootie the Daring Dachshund went to live with them, so I'm happy about that. I know they'll take good care of her.

After their visit I was sick with a slammin' migraine for an entire two days, but DH took care of everything and let me recover.

I felt better in time for my daughter's choir concert. I'd have gone anyway, because she had the big solo, but I was really glad to have felt well enough for it. The concert was held in a packed auditorium, and I had a little eye tightness, but I was surprised to find I handled the fragrances quite well. Abby was angelic, the star of the show, and the other two kids were good during the concert, so it was a success.

The next day (Wednesday) I woke up feeling under the weather, and unfortunately the migraine came back. I was able to hold off the full-blown migraine yesterday by lying around with my eyes closed all. day. long. ugh. Today I woke up with energy, but still can't see. Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow. I'm really bored and need to do some housework.

Peace out.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

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