Archive for April 2010

Learning how to live

Where to start, where to start?

Well first, I'm just coming out of a migraine so if you haven't seen me around in a few days, that's why. Darn sinusitis.

I quit drinking coffee for a while. Figured out that I can have one cup with no ill effect on my tummy, but my problem is stopping at one cup. I enjoy the ritual of the coffee, and also I feel like I owe it to the coffee to drink it. Weird, but that's how it is. I think a lot of us have that "clean your plate" mentality, which affects all my habits around food. A while ago I said I was going to do better with my food choices, and I have. I've only lost about five pounds, but I'm really working on the habit part rather than focusing on losing weight. Things like making sure there are healthy things in the kitchen, not being lazy about cooking, and thinking about portions rather than just shoveling it in till I can't anymore. Those are the things that will make me a healthy weight and keep me there. I can wait to hit that mark if I know it will last.

What else...

Oh yeah, I finished my book. Sent it to my first reader on Tuesday and had a migraine headache an hour later, whatever that means. Thinking of everything I've gone through during the course of this book is a bit overwhelming.

I didn't have the confidence to write this book when I started. It doesn't fit into a template, I see now.  I tried to make it fit a template and ended up spinning my wheels for a couple of years. For a long time my forebrain told me it was a mess, even though it made a lot of sense to me, and the characters spoke with their own voices. Only when I threw out the template did it come alive and drive me to the finish.

We'll see how the public receives it, but whatever happens I've written the book I wanted to write, and that's a pretty damn good feeling. Later in my career, I will say, "That's when I learned how to be a writer." Shoot, this whole BVA period has taught me how to live.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

I WILL have fun today, darn it.

In a bigger town nearby, there's this children's museum. It's got lots of hands-on exhibits, like a contraption that lets you stand inside a giant soap bubble, an airplane cockpit you can climb up into, sand art, and a little grocery store. Just an expansive indoor playground with the coolest toys imagineable. I get to go there today with my daughter's kindergarten class. Blah. I've been there too many times, but it'll be fun watching the kids have fun, Maggie Rose and her little friend (a boy with whom she's "in love").

Thank goodness the parents aren't allowed to ride the bus this year. I about died from being in that enclosed space with all those perfumed popinjays. It made the day very difficult, starting off with a pre-migraine and blurry vision. So this time I'm driving myself and I'll stay as far away as I can manage. I seem to tolerate being in buildings all right now, as long as there's no air freshener or candles or freshly-cleaned floors. I'm also going to take my nose filters if I can find a clean set. That usually helps.

It's raining which means we may not get to go on the train. Gosh, I am just full of optimism today, aren't I? Guess it's time to adjust my attitude, and that usually starts with a shower.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Be glad when people bug you

I put it off as long as I could, but I had to go to Wal-Mart today. The nearest one is about 20 minutes from my house. Today's journey home took me 32 minutes. This is a good thing, and I'll tell you why.

Apparently I missed the memo declaring today Twenty-five Mile Per Hour Day. I think it was also Cut Off Sherri in Traffic Day. So every time one slow ass would turn, I'd speed up to the limit only to have another one pull out in front of me like he was in a big hurry and then go the decreed 25 mph. To illustrate how ridiculous it was: As one car (the final one, but I didn't know that then) turned out in front of me, I yelled, "If you go 25 miles an hour, I will drive my car up your !@#$% tailpipe!!" (Note the double exclamation points for emphasis.) Unfortunately, he'd indeed received the memo, but my car wouldn't actually fit in his tailpipe.

Well at that point I just had to laugh. I said out loud to no one in particular, "Oh well. Maybe this is God's way of keeping me out of a wreck. You never know." I relaxed and kept on truckin'. Slowly, of course.

So that guy turned soon, and finally I was free to go as freaking fast as I wanted, and what I wanted was only the speed limit. I drove unfettered for a couple of miles, when up ahead I saw flashing lights in front of my grocery store. No lie, there had been what looked like a head-on collision. The wreck was fresh enough that there wasn't anybody directing traffic yet, but there were several cop cars so it had been at least a few minutes. I estimate ten. About the amount of time the slow asses cost me.

I guess I'll never know if someone was looking out for me, but just remember when somebody is bugging the shit out of you: Maybe they're bugging the shit out of you on behalf of your guardian angel.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Characters'll spake to ya, if ya just be lis'nin

Well, I made a major decision as I wrap up my current book. See, the nature of the world in this book makes it likely that one would meet people from all over the world, and from lots of different eras. My main character is American but of Mexican descent; a supporting character is Spanish of some kind, and another is Scottish; lesser characters are Southern, Persian, British, and others. Not all of them speak English, but most of them do. That means a lot of accents to understand and apply, and besides the accents you have idioms unique to the individual culture. This is tough.

What I did while writing the book was write each character the way he/she sounded in my head, and for most of them this worked well enough to get the accent across. My Scottish guy was the exception.

He never sounded Scottish to me. I really really wanted him to be Scottish. Really really. However, although I'd decided he should be Scottish, I'd done very little research on how to actually make him seem Scottish. I thought I'd be able to layer it in at my leisure. I'm finding it's not that easy. Also, there's no real reason to have him be foreign, except that I wanted lots of different places represented.

So now I'm on the verge of completing the book, and changing "your" to "yer" ain't gonna cut it. And I started asking myself, "If he didn't sound like a Scot in your head, why did you make him one anyway, you dimwit?" And the answer is, I didn't. I didn't make him a Scot. He's an American who sometimes says "wee lass" and "are ye out of your mind?" See? Now, I could go and make that "are ye out o' yer maind?" and that would be fairly Scottish. But to go back and spend an extra month to add that accent to an entire character's worth of dialogue wouldn't have a good cost/benefit ratio.

So Caellum is now Scottish-American, if there is such a term. He's still a rakish musician, still mysterious, still over-sexed, but I think he'll be relieved to stop speaking with an accent. He wasn't very good at it.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

How will you celebrate?

You know how people dispensing publishing advice say to gives yourself a small but meaningful reward at big milestones? Well I never could think of anything worth planning for the day I was finally a published author. "They" say to have a special dinner, buy something meaningful to mark the occasion, take a trip. I always assumed I'd go out to dinner with the hubs sans kids, a pretty ordinary celebration for something that will change my life, but all I could think of to do, barring a million-dollar advance.

In the shower yesterday, it hit me.

Not me...yet!

A nose ring! I've always wanted one, but I never took the plunge. As I aged I got it in my head my time for frivolous body mutilation had passed. Not so! It hit me in the shower (as all good ideas do) that getting my nose pierced would be the perfect way to commemorate the publication of my first book.

Since my husband would have to look at it every day, I thought it polite to get his final approval. If he really didn't like the idea, I'd just get a fancy pair of earrings instead. Luckily he likes bad girls, so he jumped on board without compunction. The kids thought it was cool, too. Their teachers have weird piercings, for heaven sake.

So...yeah. When I get a book deal I'll announce it by posting a picture of myself and my new nose ring.

Friday, April 16, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Doing better

So I've been on this diet, and I've lost 3.5 pounds so far. It's actually a lifestyle change that I've made several times before but couldn't make stick, so this time I'm trying out an online calorie counter to give me some solid data. What I've found is that all my extra calories come from boredom snacking. If I stuck with meals, even if I stuffed myself I'd be having fewer calories than while eating Nutty Bars and Cheetos several times a day. By watching my moods and habits and cravings without judgment, I've been able to identify the trigger points and maybe some day I'll be able to completely overcome those challenges and let my skinny self come back out.

A big motivator is my kids, rather than simply my weight. I'm okay with being this size, as long as I come about it naturally and not because of some idiotic behavior I can't overcome, but my children give me signs that I haven't taught them what food is for. I have to do better, be a better role model so they will grow up healthy. That's a bigger motivator than the scale or tight clothes.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

My dorkiness--exposed!

So some of you wondered about my pinhole glasses. The kind I have are called "Foxy."

As you can see, the lenses are opaque with holes poked in them. To see how they work for yourself, poke a hole in a piece of paper with a pin and look through. If you normally wear glasses, you should be able to see clearly through that hole without your glasses. Something to do with the way light bounces around your retina. Click the link above for a complete explanation.

Anyway, I wore prescription glasses for a long time, about ten years, but I was never satisfied with my vision. It never seemed quite right, and finally I decided to go without glasses for a few days to see if my headaches improved. They did, and I could see fine after a few days of adjusting to naked sight after years of looking through goggles. I'm done with glasses forever. I'll never have prescription spectacles again until a government representative tells me I must.

It's a long story, but what I found during that experimental time was that I can see fine without glasses, but my vision deteriorates quickly when my eyes are fatigued, and that fatigue triggers migraines. I found pinhole glasses to be a cheap and easy alternative, and I only use them on days when a migraine feels imminent. Looking through the pinholes keeps me from having to focus too hard, and keeps the migraine at bay if I'm vigilant. And the rest of the time I don't have to wear glasses.

Pinhole glasses don't work well for web surfing, where your eyes are jumping from one element to another on the page, but they're good for reading, both on-screen and off. This pair was el cheapo and one of the arms broke off. I'd love to invest in a nicer pair.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

And yet...I'm posting anyway.

I want to write a post, but what should I say? Should I talk about the wonderful weather? After months of complaining I feel I should talk about the good stuff, too.

I could talk about my pinhole glasses, but then you might think I'm a dork.

How about my new/old writing space? It's the previously unusable, newly-dubbed sunroom, complete with wasps and ladybugs.

I could write about my definition of writer's block, backed by personal experience. Or maybe something about the current WIP, soon to be completed. Or I could finish any one of the posts sitting in my drafts folder, dating back to the balloon boy hoax.

Nah. I just can't think of a thing to write about. Sorry.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

Happenings in Blossomland

Well, I tried and tried to fix the comment form so it would show your line breaks, and I just can't figure it out. Lots of times when I hit a wall like this, if I just give it a little time it'll become clear, so that's what I'll try. I know it's annoying, but one day I'll have it fixed. I like having my own website, though at times like these I wish I had stayed at the free Wordpress blog. Every tiny problem means hours on the Internet trying to find a solution. *sigh*

In one week, the Little Bubba got the car door slammed on his fingers, ripped his hand open with barbed wire, got dive-bombed by a kite, fell of the front porch, and a bunch of other little owies I can't remember. That kid has a bullseye painted on his back and fate has the darts. It's gotten so every time I hear a thud or a shout I run straight to him. Good news is his little 8-year-old self is still "going good, great, happy" with his girlfriend.

The hubs is looking for a pickup. The van is getting more and more difficult to drive, so thank goodness we had a pretty good tax refund. We had decided to pay cash for an older vehicle rather than take on a car payment (you may remember that I have enough trouble keeping the bills paid as it is), but this afternoon we went looking and there's just not that much to choose from in the older pickup department. And let me just define "older" for you by saying the '97 Saturn I bought last year is the latest model I've ever owned.

I guess people either trade in their pickups every couple of years or they just keep them till they fall apart. The guy at Automax almost talked us into a 2007 Nissan Frontier by telling us he could get the payment down to $150 a month. But man, I just don't know. One-fifty a month when I was paying zero will be hard to swallow, especially when I figure in the insurance thing. So what are your thoughts on buying an older vehicle that may need more repairs, or making monthly payments on a newer one?
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Posted by Sherri Cornelius

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