Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas in my corner

Whew! Christmas is almost here...finally. I'm kind of sick and totally exhausted, but this has been a wonderful Christmas season. I decided that, this year, I was going to give myself an attitude adjustment, since I usually fall into the whole Grinch-y mentality. Our tree is up, and decorated, for the first time in five years. Last Saturday, I baked a metric ton of goodies, while I listened to carols playing and watched snow falling outside. I chose not to let the usual stressors get under my skin, and everything has been so much better for it.

So, from my corner to yours, I wish you a wonderful day! I hope the holiday brings you fun with family, perfect presents, plentiful pies, and many happy memories. (Sorry for the annoying alliteration...I'm a little stoned on cold medicine.) Merry Christmas! 

Friday, December 18, 2009

How I became the butt of a joke

In my last post, I promised an embarrassing school story; it takes place when I was in fourth grade. A couple of things to keep in mind as you read: I had really bad taste in TV shows when I was nine; and, all evidence to the contrary, I am actually a good speller.

At some point during the year, my teacher, Ms. Marshall, gave us a creative writing assignment. I was not short on imagination as a kid, but I usually found creative writing kind of frustrating, often because we were supposed to write poetry. (I don't like to write poetry, and I'm terrible at it.) This assignment, though, was different: we could write about a favorite book or TV character. Since I was a little TV junkie, that was right up my alley. I chose to write about one of my favorite shows, The Dukes of Hazzard. (See? Terrible taste, I told you.)

Since I had imagination to spare, I didn't just write a standard Bo-and-Luke-car-jumpin'-yee-haw-adventure story. Instead, I decided to expand the role of one of the lesser-known characters--Enos, the hapless straight-man deputy to Sherriff Rosco P. Coltrane. (I was clearly ahead of my time! I'm talking about early Duke-boy fanfic, here.) I crafted my story with all of the enthusiasm of Ralphie writing his Red Ryder BB-gun essay. There was just one problem: since I was only nine, and I had never met anyone named "Enos," I didn't know how to spell it. Following years of advice from teachers, I "sounded it out" and decided it should be spelled A-n-u-s. Oh, yeah. You read that right. I turned in a story about a horrible country-bumpkin-stereotype TV show...featuring a main character named "Anus."

So, what does a good fourth-grade teacher do, when faced with a situation like this? When Ms. Marshall handed back my graded story (I think I got a "B"), she included a note for my mom. I was completely freaked out, of course; notes from teachers are never a good thing, and I wasn't the type of kid to get in trouble, anyway. I didn't open the note, but gave it to my mom, with great trepidation. I was expecting my mom to explode, and she did--but it was laughter, not yelling. Ms. Marshall had laughed so hard at my story that she simply had to write a note to tell Mom about it--and to advise that Mom explain to me why "Anus" was not an appropriate name for a literary character.

So, that's my little tale. My mom, grandmother, and teacher all had a good laugh, and I was left feeling indignant that my spelling error overshadowed what I thought was a literary masterpiece. Fortunately, that bad experience did not cause me to lose interest in writing, and I love blogging. Now, though, I make sure that I check my spelling very carefully. Spelling mistakes like that one could lead to some REALLY embarrassing Google searches.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A sort of hiatus

I didn't intend to take a month-long break from blogging, believe me. It was actually another writing project that left me no time to write here. A few months ago, my church choir director and I decided to create our own Christmas play, rather than using a packaged program. I did most of the writing (with a huge amount of input and advice from several others), and it was one of the most terrifying, fun, creative things I've ever been involved in. However--because I was involved on a molecular level--I ate, slept, and breathed the Christmas play for the last month. We had our performance last Sunday evening, everything went very well, and now I can return to my regularly scheduled, boring life...just as I like it. I plan to spend the next few evenings catching up on Facebook; reading and commenting on my favorite blogs (I've been clicking "mark all as read" on the Google reader for a while now); and collecting all the supplies I'll need for a day of Christmas baking on Saturday.

If you're still checking in here, thanks! I missed you guys. Look for a new post later this week--all the writing I've been doing lately brought back an embarrassing memory of an early creative story assignment. Here's a hint about just how mortifying it was: the teacher who graded it wrote my mom a note, because my story made her laugh so hard. And not in a good way, either.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Maybe this is not the kind of therapy I really need

Yup, I'm back in physical therapy for my bum shoulder. When I finished eight weeks of PT last April, the shoulder felt really good, and I assumed it would stay that way. Clearly, it didn't, so I headed back in for some more work. Except that it isn't--working, that is. So, my wonderful therapist is having me try some new techniques, which are making things a bit more...interesting than usual around here.


the TENS Unit
This odd little machine is supposed to relieve pain by doing, um, something to the receptors in my nerves, I think. I don't really know, and I also don't know if it works or not, since I just started using it yesterday. I do know, however, that the Wikipedia page contains a sarety tip that absolutely fascinates me: it says that one should not place the electrodes for the TENS unit transcerebrally, i.e., one on each temple. But it doesn't say why! WHY?!? What does it do??? I would love to ask my therapist, but I really like her and I respect her a lot, so I don't want her to think I'm an idiot. I'm not saying that I'm going to actually try placing the electrodes on my temples; but, you can't tell me something like that, and then think I'm not going to be way curious about what could happen.

the floor exercise
I've been doing home PT exercises for nine months now, but so far, they have all involved a ball or a stretchy band or pushing against a wall. My most recent exercise requires that I lie on the floor for 15 minutes at a time, with a rolled-up towel under my back, between the shoulder blades. This sounds easy enough, and it would be, except for one thing: in my house, human on the floor = playtime for dogs. The mutts think that having me lie down on the floor is their cue to sit on my head, stick chew bones in my ear, lick and paw at my face, and generally climb all over me like I'm a big ol' doggie jungle gym. Tonight, Sebastian must have decided that he needed to protect me from...something, because he spent the entire 15 minutes standing over my head. I took a photo:



In case you've ever wondered what the world looks like from the underside of a Cocker Spaniel's chin, there you go. I think the photo is kind of ominous-looking, but the only real danger was that Sebastian might drool on my forehead.

In two weeks, I should know if the new treatment plan is working, or if I'm headed back to the orthopedist for "the next step." Talk about ominous! I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what the next step is, unless it involves hot towels (there's another patient at the therapy office who is always lying down, covered in hot towels, when I go in for my session), or Lortab, my painkiller of choice. In the meantime, I guess I'll get used to having a dog sit on my head for a few minutes every night.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The unbearable cuteness of noms

It's Thursday night, and I've been writing a blog post in my head all week, looking forward to writing something funny. But, by the time I got home from work, I was tired and kind of stressed and bummed out, and I didn't think I had any funny in the tank. Still need to blog, though. So, to brighten my spirits a bit, I turned to something that can always make me laugh--my dogs.

We don't feed our pups much people food, with a few exceptions. One of those is spaghetti; I can't explain it, but these dogs go nuts for plain, cooked pasta. A few weeks ago, I used my fancy cell phone (that I'm still trying to learn to operate after fve months) to take a video of the pups eating spaghetti, because it's sooooooo cute. And then it hit me: if a video of Patches, Sebastian, and Abby nom-ing spaghetti can make me laugh, you might like it, too. Hey, a blog post!

Honestly, I can't believe I even figured out how to upload the video to YouTube. (Note: It's pretty bad quality, and I'm a pretty bad videographer.) I promise to have a funny post next week; but, in the meantime, I hope you enjoy:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, yada yada yada

Yeah, I'm gonna do one of those "favorite things" posts. I will admit to blatantly stealing this idea from several bloggers, but the first I read was Sarah's post at Rhinestones and Telephones. Honestly, I am completely tapped out of writing ideas. But, I'm also trying to blog more regularly, so here's my little list of some of the things I'm really loving lately.

Naturalizer riding boots
Anyone who knows me is well aware that I love all shoes, but I really love these boots. They're soft and comfy; they look great with skirts, pants, jeans, and leggings; and I get a ton of compliments when I wear them. There aren't many things I like about cold weather, but wearing these boots alllmost makes it worth freezing my hinder off.


Crunchcakes
Mr. Nerd and I made a trip to the Louisville Zoo last weekend. On our way out of L-ville, we stopped by Lynn's Paradise Cafe, which is this incredibly cool, funky little local joint with kitschy decor and the most amazing food. It's almost impossible to decide what to order, but I chose the Crunchcakes, and I was not disappointed. Two plate-sized multigrain pancakes, stuffed with homemade granola and fresh blueberries. I had never dreamed of pancakes and granola together; but, it's been four days, and I'm still thinking about how scrumptious it was. Nom nom nom.


Louis van Amstel
I can't deny it--I am an enormous Dancing with the Stars junkie. I live and die by each week's episode, and eat up my text message allotment voting for my favorite stars. This season, though, I have developed a new obsession...and his name is Louis van Amstel. He's so adorable, I can't decide if I want to dance with him, marry him, or just squeeze him. Squee! Look how cute!

Do you have any new obsessions? What do you love right now? Do you also fantasize about dancing the tango with Louis? Books, music, food, TV,  anything...tell me about it in the comments!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This is your eviction notice...


To all of the millipedes who have taken up residence in my kitchen, I have just one thing to say: GET OUT. There are five creatures who are authorized to live in this house, and you do not count among that number.

I know that it's getting cold at night now, it has rained so much lately that we need a freakin' ark, and it's much nicer in here than it is outside...but I don't care. That probably sounds hardhearted; but, you freak me out, and I'm not likely to get over that anytime soon. I'm tired of turning on the kitchen light each morning and finding five or six of you creeping around on your many horrible little legs. It's equally foul to have to scoop up and dispose of your shriveled remains (with a paper towel, of course), when you are inconsiderate enough to expire on my linoleum. The worst, though, was when I entered the kitchen the other morning without my glasses. I saw what I thought was a brown leaf on the floor, and brushed it to the side with my foot--only to have blood squirt out of it! I nearly fainted dead away. That was the last straw.

So, millipedes, I'm going to have to ask you to remove yourselves from my domicile immediately. I will permit you to remain on the patio, provided you make no attempt to cross the threshold. If you force me to make a second request, it will be accompanied by insecticide spray.

(image courtest of ohiolandlord.com)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The flu didn't get me, but I thought daytime TV might


I spent a few days on the sofa last week, recovering from what may or may not have been the H1N1 virus. It seemed like way too much effort to drag myself out to the doctor, so I just dosed up with a liver-busting amount of ibuprofen for the fever, and called in sick to spare my coworkers, just in case I did have Hamthrax. It took four days to chase the fever away, and I have to admit it--I felt like I might die a couple of times. Oh, not from the (maybe) flu, although that certainly wasn't pleasant. The real danger was the possibility of dying from boredom, given the suckitude of daytime TV.

 Mr. Nerd and I made an uncharacteristically frugal decision last year, and cancelled the "extended" cable TV package. Our plan was to rely heavily on PBS and the Discovery Channel, which were included in the "basic" package. Most of the time, I don't miss the channels that we lost too much. But, spending three solid days on the sofa, too unwell to commit to watching a movie, nearly made me weep for the Food Network or TLC.

Even in my fever-addled state, I knew that the network stations would be a wash during the day--it's all soap operas; various hard-edged judges delivering justice to a series of lunkheads;  and Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Dr. Oz (it would take a lot more than a fever to make me watch Oprah or anything Oprah-related). So, I turned to my old standby, Discovery, expecting to be able to sink back into my semi-coma and enjoy some reruns of Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters, and Time Warp. And, you may ask, what did I find there? Fishing, in many forms. A couple of shows about pimping out cars, some ghost-hunter-type nonsense, and a whole lot of other junk that I didn't care one iota about. By the second afternoon, I had given up. I didn't feel like surfing (which should give you some idea of just how rotten I felt), but I decided to check Netflix, to see what was available via their "watch instantly" feature. Hallelujah! There, I found many seasons' worth of all of my favorite BBC comedies...more than enough to get me through the next couple of days with my sanity intact. (What sanity I had to begin with, that is.) That alone was worth my $14.99 a month. All hail Netflix! And ibuprofen, and Luden's throat drops! Whatever I had, I couldn't have gotten through it without you guys.

(Image courtesy www.santacruzhealth.com)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So what is Eeyore, a werewolf?

Ah, it's that time of year again. Autumn is my favorite season. The leaves are changing color, the weather is getting cooler, the scent of fireplace smoke is in the air...and the Halloween people are decorating with reckless abandon. I don't have anything against Halloween, but I'm not really into it, either. Dressing up is a lot of trouble, and we don't usually hand out candy because it makes the dogs go nutball for a solid two hours. I have a fall-color wreath for the front door, but that's pretty much the extent of my decorating. Some of the people in my neighborhood, though, are REALLY into it.

I was passing by one of those homes yesterday when I saw it. This is far from the most macabre Halloween decoration that I've ever seen, but it was still kind of disturbing:

















What this inflatable says to me is that either: a) Winnie the Pooh has a dark side that none of us knew about; or b) Pooh (like pretty much everyone else in the free world) has been sucked into the Twilight phenomenon.

Now, I can't claim to be an expert on ol' Winnie by any means, but I read the books and watched the TV shows when I was a kid. I feel pretty comfortable in my assessment of Pooh as a gentle, slightly goofy kind of guy who likes to hang out with his buds and nosh on honey. So, whether he has truly embraced the bloodsucking lifestyle, or he's just another one of those emo vampire posers, neither of those personas really fit with Pooh's traditional reputation. Pooh's pretty lazy, so I just can't see him putting forth all that effort to chase down victims and do the whole neck-biting thing. His general outlook on life is sunny, and he doesn't really have the sort of depressive, poetry-writing nature that I associate with emo kids. The more I think about it, though, Eeyore kind of fits that image. So many questions! Of course, there's a better-than-average chance than I'm putting WAY too much thought into my neighbor's lawn decoration.

So, what kind of decorations have you seen in your neighborhood? Do you decorate your lawn? Do you find vampire Pooh disturbing, or cute? (By the way, "vampire poo" was one of the auto-complete searches when I was checking Google for that photo. Part of me really wanted to look, but I resisted.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Real life" can be really inconvenient sometimes

I can't believe it has been almost two weeks since I posted! No real crises or tragedies or anything; I'm just SO busy right now that I barely have time to string two thoughts together, let alone compose them into a blog post. For those of you who know what a Facebook crack-monkey I am, this should prove how little free time I've had lately: I haven't spent more than three minutes at a time on Facebook in over a week. Seriously. Another writing project, a major housecleaning adventure, sick dogs, and a whole load of church activities have combined into the perfect storm of butt-smoking busy-ness, and I'm ready to get off the merry-go-round now, please. Since I am still short on time to write, here are a few random thoughts I've had lately:

  • Why do I keep doing embarrassing things in the copy room at work? I can stand primly by the copier for 20 minutes, and not a soul will come in...but, let me try to copy a move from Dancing with the Stars, or burst into a rousing rendition of "Son of a Preacher Man," and suddenly, someone will be standing right behind me. Then I get to spend the rest of the afternoon doing that whole did-they-see-or-did-they-not-see thing. Why do I never learn?
  • I am a terrible dog mom. Abby Dog had her yearly checkup and vaccinations last week, and the vet found that one of her ears is horribly infected. (I will spare you the details, but the words "ulcerated lesions" were involved.) The treatment? Antibiotics--and a rolled-up gauze square, soaked in medication and inserted into her ear canal, while I hold her ear closed, once a day for two weeks. Surprisingly enough, dogs don't really like it when you shove things into their ears. Poor Abby deserves some credit, though. After four days of doing the gauze-roll thing, she has stopped struggling when I hold her. Now she just sighs a lot and gives me dirty looks. It's a good thing dogs don't hold grudges, or she might try to smother me while I sleep.
  • It seems that the FDA has agreed with my opinion that Latisse, that eyelash-lengthening treatment, is pretty scary. One of the comments on my post mentioned that Latisse can cause hair to grow anywhere that it is dropped on your body, which was even more alarming to me than the side effects I wrote about. Of course, when Mr. Nerd and I saw that story on the news, he immediately asked if he could buy some to apply to his bald spot.
Okay, real life--I give! I know I'm out of writing time for tonight. I will try not to wait so long between posts next time!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Culture of Lies



Wow, that sounds all hard-hitting and newsy, doesn't it? While I think it would be really cool to do research and conduct interviews and write revealing exposés and stuff, I'm just way too lazy for all of that. Instead, I'm going to rant about yogurt. (Culture, get it? Ha! I've got
a million of 'em.) Speaking of being lazy, it seems like the media is all about reporting on Americans' horrible eating habits these days. In response, advertisers are rolling out tons of ads for healthy food products like soy milk, fiber bars, natural cereals, etc. And, of course, yogurt. Unfortunately, most of the yogurt commercials I have seen are either really annoying, or just downright untruthful.

I'm going to pick on Yoplait commercials in particular, because those are the ones that irritate me the most. First, there was a series of ads that featured two incredibly smug women. They had little conversations about the yogurt: "this is shoe-shopping good," "this is day-at-the-spa good," and so on. Ladies, do you really need to be so smug? It's just freakin' yogurt! And,  to imply that a cup of yogurt could be better than a new pair of shoes is just some kind of lunacy, in my book. New shoes are blissful treats that can brighten a bad day, and make you feel pretty and sexy; yogurt is a barely-tolerable dairy product that you eat just because it's good for you. (But we'll discuss that a bit more in depth in just a moment.) Over the next couple of years, Yoplait continued to produce more ads featuring a number of self-satisfied women, all purporting to have lost a great amount of weight by ingesting large quantities of their rancid dairy product.

Now, Yoplait has gone too far. They are introducing a new line of products, called Yoplait Delights, which they claim taste just like a parfait. That is just a lie, plain and simple. Yogurt does not taste like pudding, or cake, or pie. And it most certainly does not taste like ice cream. This treachery upon the good name of desserts should be stopped, immediately. Somewhere out there is a woman who needs to lose some weight. She keeps seeing commercials about yogurt…the health benefits, the weight loss, and she thinks, "How bad can it be? The commercial said it tastes like pudding/cake/pie/ice cream." When she tries it, though, she discovers what yogurt really is: a slightly sour, mildly clumpy cup of thick dairy substance that may or may not contain fruit. While it's not really horrible, it surely wouldn't qualify as dessert.

In case anyone thinks I'm being too harsh on yogurt, or I don't know what I'm talking about, consider this: I ate it every single day for six years. After I did Weight Watchers in 2002, I needed to find a low-fat way to get some calcium in my body before I managed to snap my femur like a twig or something. (I can't stand to drink milk.) Approximately 2,000 cups of yogurt later, I could no longer face it, so I switched to chocolate soymilk. It doesn't taste like real milk with Hershey's syrup, but at least there are no commercials trying to make me believe it does.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It wasn't a "vacay"

It was just a week off work...and I hate the word "vacay," anyway. The husband and I were off last week, and I was officially the least productive person on the planet. I spent nearly the whole week just breathing, napping, eating, and wasting time on the Internet. As my vacation time approached, I was planning to blog more, rather than less, since I was going to have so much free time. Apparently, though, I just couldn't work up the energy.

When Monday came around, I found that I really didn't mind going back to work all that much, since my job is usually okay. I did, however, have a bit of difficulty adjusting to being around actual people again. Mr. Nerd and I have been married for quite a while, so we don't sit around under each other's feet; when we're at home, he does his thing and I do mine. So, I would go for long stretches without conversing with anyone other than three lively, but uncommunicative, Cocker Spaniels. And most of those conversations were of the "don't: sit on the other dogs / lick up things you found on the floor / barf in the corner where I can't clean it up / do unnatural things to your brother's head / bark like fiends at the poor bored neighbor dog / hit the 'delete' key on the laptop" variety. My co-workers might have thought that I was unusually quiet on Monday (unusual, since I'm hardly ever quiet), but I was really just trying to remember exactly what it is that human beings talk about all day.

At any rate, I'm back, and I have some great ideas for new posts. I'll have one later in the week; here's a little teaser:

Be sure to check in later this week!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's a major award*

As if things hadn't been exciting enough around here lately, what with the new look and the blogoversary and getting TRIPLE the usual number of page views last week (you guys can't see that, of course, but my traffic report made me very happy)--I won an award! The lovely JD, of I Do Things So You Don't Have To, was kind enough to pass the Superior Scribbler Award on to me and several other happy bloggers. (Check out the link to read about the Scholastic Scribe, and the award.) Now, I'm supposed to pay it forward to some of my favorite bloggers, so here we go:
  • Heather, from The Mother Tongue. Heather is a writer for my local paper, and she's awesome: funny, geeky, smart, and totally cool. Her blog topics range from politics and current events, to hilarious reports about her home life as a mom to two little ones, to tough, touching stories about some of her personal struggles. Bonus: Heather is a Harry Potter nerd, too. It makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only adult who daydreams about Hogwarts.
  • Jeff, from View from the Cloud. Jeff has great stories about his former life on the road as a professional musician, and a lot of hilarious regular features (my fave is Mr. Know-It-All).  He has been blogging for years, and you will find tons of laughs in his archives. Jeff is also a fellow Elvis Costello fan, and that's good enough for me.
  • Chris, from Maugeritaville. Chris is a school principal, and I believe anyone who deals with today's youth on a daily basis deserves some kind of award. He writes great nostalgia stories about his own school days, and reports from the front lines (aka his job) that make me oh-so-grateful for my boring office job, where everyone is over 25 and (relatively) sane.
  • Sarah, from Rhinestones and Telephones. I just started reading Sarah's blog about a week ago, and I am already addicted. She blogs about baking, sewing, crafts (all things I love), Strictly Come Dancing, which is the British version of Dancing with the Stars (my favoritest TV show), and tons of other interesting stuff. There's just one thing: I think "Sarah" may actually be a pseudonym for, like, five people. Because I don't see how one woman could get all of that stuff done.
Congratulations, everyone! Just click on the Superior Scribbler Award link to get the instructions for passing on the award, if you like. I'm not really gonna try to force you or anything.

*Leg lamp photo courtesy of notice things. If you don't understand the significance of the photo, or the post title, go here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My baby is growing up!

Happy birthday to Nerd in the Corner! Yes, my little bloggie is a year old. It seems like just yesterday that I created my Blogger account and began my weekly fret about what to write, but that was 108 posts ago. Wow...that seems like a lot of posts. What have I been writing about for the last year, anyway? Let's check back through the old posts and see.

  • In one of my earliest posts on September 3, I made the first reference to my recently-diagnosed strained pectoral muscle. It turns out that it wasn't a strained muscle at all. It still feels like crap, and I ran out of Lortab a long time ago. Advil PM is my new best friend.
  • On October 3, I mined my painful teenage years for laughs, and wrote about one of my (many) horrible gym class experiences. It's kind of a long post; I've learned since then that it's best to keep things short and sweet. It's a pretty funny story, though, despite all of the mental anguish and stuff.
  • On December 14, I explained why the Christmas season makes me kind of Grinch-y. Man, I hate those stupid sexy Santa outfits. Now I can't stop thinking that it will only be another couple of months until I have to endure them again.
  • On January 8, I discussed my lengthy episode of insomnia, and admitted that I have always been a sleepwalker. I still can't sleep very well, but my BFF Advil PM is helping out with that, too. I lurve you, Advil PM!
  • On March 10, I branched out a bit, and offered some tips for elevator etiquette. I know it's bad to hold grudges, but that guy still honks me off.
  • I am a huge fan of 80s music, and I (partlially) explained why on April 11. Yes, I really wanted to marry Prince. And no, I never completely grew out of it.
  • On August 1, I wrote about another one of Mother Nature's little cruelties. I think I may have inadvertently offended a member of the Goth community with this post.
Sometimes, when I write a post, I remember to label it. Except that I forget what labels I have used in the past, so my labeling system is totally spastic. Some of the labels use capital letters, and some don't. I have two different labels for posts about my dogs, and now I can't figure out how to delete one of the labels without deleting the posts that go with it. There are 18 posts labeled "random stuff," while most of the other labels have only one or two posts each. Labeling is definitely one of the areas where I hope to improve in my next year of blogging.

And there will definitely be a next year, because blogging is fun--even though I fuss a lot over what to write about, and sometimes I worry that no one is reading it. I love to think that something I wrote might have made someone laugh, though, and I like to write for myself, too. So, to everyone who has read Nerd in the Corner over the past year, particularly those of you who have left comments and followed me: a million billion thanks! And, to my blogging heroes JD, Kathy, and Jeff: You guys are awesome!! Thanks so much for reading my blog, giving me advice, leaving hilarious comments, and providing a ton of blogging encouragement. If y'all are still blogging in 20 years, I will still be reading your stuff, because you're great, funny writers...AND truly good people.

Here's to Year Two! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why I loved back-to-school time, part 2

Last week, I wrote a tender homage to my first lunchbox. I also noted that, although I have been out of the educational system for a long time, I still have a thing for school supplies. There are two reasons, I believe: first, I was (and am) a nerd who loved school; second, I was (and am) a shopper. And back-to-school shopping was the best...here's why.

New clothes and shoes
I've loved clothes for as long as I can remember, but I didn't become label-conscious until fifth grade. That year, a couple of brands nearly succeeded in turning me into a little Paris Hilton. I fell hard for this:
and pestered my poor, overworked single mother until she bought me two precious Izod shirts, and a few pairs of alligator footie socks. If Lacoste had made underwear, I would have worn it. My mother thought (and rightly so) that I was out of my mind, but she hadn't seen anything yet. Shortly after I began cultivating my Izod sickness, I developed another obsession, one that lasts to this day:

This, my friends, is a Nike Cortez sneaker. These were the first fancy, name-brand sneakers I had ever owned, and I loved them. For the first two or three weeks after I got them, I set them on my dresser before bed every night...so that I would be able to see them first thing each morning when I woke up. I still love flashy sneakers, but now I can (usually) restrain myself from looking at my feet in the mirror a million times a day when I'm wearing them.

Great organize-y gear
My name is absepa,and I have OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder doesn't just happen overnight, you know, and mine started early. I remember going to my granny's office when I was five or six and happily re-organizing everything in her desk. It was no surprise, then, that my discovery of the Trapper Keeper changed my school career forever. All the folders fit inside! There were so many pockets! Even my little plastic pencil case was designed to fasten into the Trapper Keeper...and then it allll closed up neatly with a velcro flap!
That's a little bit of nerd/OCD heaven, right there. The only thing that could improve it would be...

Lisa Frank stickers
Unicorns, rainbows, hearts, puffy clouds (sigh), all covered with more glitter than Dolly Parton and Beyonce combined...Lisa Frank's designs were enough to make my little head explode from pure, girly awesomeness.

I covered every possible surface, including my Trapper Keeper, with as much Lisa Frank-y goodness as my meager allowance could provide. Apparently I never outgrew that obssession either, because I realized, as I just spent a few minutes checking out LF's website, that I kind of miss this stuff. One of the bummers of adulthood is a serious lack of sparkly stickers, I think. That boring, black leather binder that I carry to meetings is just crying out for some puppies and unicorns.

I learned from the comments on part 1 of this story that not everyone has such good memories of back-to-school shopping. (Sorry, Kathy and JD.) How about you? Am I the only one who loves school supplies? Drop a comment, and tell us about your favorite back-to-school memory!

While you're at it, how about a smiley?

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Monday, August 24, 2009

We got the look, we got the hook, etc.

Well, not "we," really. Just my blog. 'Cuz I need a haircut, and I've gained a couple of pounds of birthday cake. But check out my blog--it really is cookin'!

The first birthday of Nerd in the Corner is coming up in a few days, and I decided that a new look would make an excellent gift. I shopped around, checking out different blog makeover sites, for a couple of weeks before I made my decision. I went with Designed by Leslie because I liked Leslie's portfolio, and her prices are very reasonable. There's a bonus, too: Leslie is a teacher, and she uses all the money she earns doing blog makeovers to buy supplies for her classroom. How cool is that? Not only does my blog look hawt, but Leslie's kiddies will have more things for their class. Win-win! Thanks again, Leslie!

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Don't worry, JD...I still plan to explain the whole shoe/school supply obsession. I just thought my cool new look deserved its very own post. Check back tomorrow for part two of my self-indulgent nostalgic musings about the first day of school.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell

It's that time of year again...when the kids gather up their high-tech backbacks (stuffed with laptops, iPods, and graphing calculators), don their Abercrombie jeans and Nike sneakers, and head back to school. For most people like me who don't have children, it's probably a non-event. The nerd in me, however, always takes note of the appearance of all the shiny new notebooks, folders, binders, etc., in the stores--because I love school supplies. Until junior high, when I hit the Misery Trifecta of algebra, gym class, and mean popular kids , I actually loved school. From the time I was unleashed on the Kentucky public school system as a fresh-faced little nerdlet in 1976, until the day of my sixth-grade graduation, I was as happy as a clam in the academic world. I looked forward to the beginning of school each year with great excitement, partly because it provided me the opportunity to indulge my tendency to be a huge know-it-all. ("You know," my exasperated mother once said, "that grown-ups don't really like it when little girls correct their grammar." I sincerely hope that I grew out of being an annoying little swot.) The other reason that I loved back-to-school? The GEAR. I've always been into organizing things. Plus, at what other time of year would a six-year-old kid be able to get a new wardrobe, cool sneakers, a lunchbox, a book bag, and a boatload of awesome organize-y stuff? It was like Christmas, except without the pressure to be good and the threat of being passed over by Santa. So, for the next couple of posts, I'm going to bore everyone senseless share some memories of my all-time-favorite back-to-school stuff! Beginning with...

My First Lunchbox








As the first day of school approached, I was so excited. When the time came to choose the all-important lunchbox, I decided to forgo the trendy (i.e. Charlie's Angels and the Bionic Woman), and stick with two of my oldest, dearest friends: Raggedy Ann and Andy. Their cheerful little faces decorated my room at home, and I often slept with the dolls, so it was a natural choice. The lunchbox was metal, it came with a matching plastic thermos, and I was incredibly proud of it. I must have driven my grandmother crazy in the few days leading up to the start of school by making "practice lunches" so that I could have an excuse to use my lunchbox. Of course, by the end of the year, the metal was rusting, the thermos stained pink from tomato soup, and the whole thing smelled like feet, so my mom decided that it had to go. My Raggedy Ann and Andy lunchbox may not have accompanied me to second grade, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. (sniff)

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Some time later, after losing my wireless connection TWICE, I feel like I need to wrap this up before I lose the whole thing. So, stay tuned for the next installment of school memories...wherein I will discuss my unnatural devotion to a pair of sneakers, how Mead contributed to my OCD, and the role of glittery unicorns in my education. (I'm not kidding.)

If you liked this post, will you drop me a smiley?
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Don't it make my blue/green/grey/hazel eyes...brown?

It seems like I've been seeing a lot of commercials featuring actress/model/Tom Cruise baiter Brooke Shields lately. I totally understand why these companies would want her as a spokesperson; she's in her early 40s, and she looks great.


(Photo courtesy of ivillage)

While I don't have anything against Brooke (well, except that whole Blue Lagoon thing, and I don't blame her for that because she was really young), I am frankly terrified by one of the products she's touting. It's called Latisse, and it claims to make your eyelashes grow. You smear it on your lids every night, and your lashes are supposed to grow "thicker and darker." Sounds fairly harmless, right? Well, watch this, and see if it freaks you out, too.



The scary part comes at 0:39. In case you missed it, the voiceover says, "...there is potential for increased brown iris pigmentation." What. The. Heck?!?! This is a substance that can change your eye color. I have nothing against brown eyes--my sister has lovely, big, brown eyes, with thick dark lashes--but I really do have something against using a product that can change a trait that was coded into my DNA. (This does not include colored contacts, by the way. Popping in a contact lens is worlds apart, in my mind, from permanently changing my eye color.)

I would love to have long, thick, black lashes. Mine are light-colored and stick-straight, so the eyelash curler is a necessary part of my morning routine. But, I have kind of grown attached to my physical attributes during my (nearly) 39 years, and I'm not really looking into altering them at this point. (Well. Except for that cellulite problem.) So, I'll keep up my close relationship with the eyelash curler, continue to purchase copious amounts of mascara...and keep my blue eyes, thankyouverymuch. I'll leave the Latisse to Brooke Shields, and we'll see (ha! I kill myself) what happens.

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On a completely unrelated note, Once Upon A Blog is having a contest! Jennisa is giving away several different design packages, and I would love to win one. Her work is awesome, and I have always wanted a custom blog design. Take a minute to check out her site! But, don't get your hopes up about the contest, because I'm totally going to win.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just one more of Mother Nature's cruel jokes...

For many people, summer is the best time of the year. And, although I'm not really into sweating, I love summer, too. Nothing makes me happier than digging in my back yard, wearing flip-flops all the time, and sipping a glass of wine on the patio in the evening. There's just one major drawback, however: I don't tan.

(picture courtesy of mikerbaker.com)

When I say that I don't tan, it's not that I don't want to be tan, or that I don't have time to tan. My skin physically cannot tan. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but I live in the South, y'all. Everyone here is tan. All summer long, I have to endure brown people yelling at me. "Girl! You need to get to the pool! Look at those white legs." Yes, I know. My legs are pale. As are my arms, chest, back, neck...everything is pale. I get it, already.

In my misspent youth, I gave in to the peer pressure, and used tanning beds. It never really made me brown, but at least I was kind of a darker white. I was diagnosed with rosacea last year, however, and sun exposure is considered one of the major triggers of outbreaks. Now that I am seeing a dermatologist regularly, she recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50...which completely removes even the slightest chance that I might tan. Have you ever used SPF 50? It's like a chemical sweatshirt. No rays are gonna get through that stuff! Since my skin hates me, I am also allergic to sunless tanners. Trust me: that lovely orange fake-tan glow is not worth spending an entire summer covered in hives.

So, pale is what I am, and it doesn't look that is going to change anytime soon. I usually try to make the best of bad situations, so I have been considering how I could turn my paleness into an asset...or at least not stick out like a sore thumb. Here are some of the best options I have come up with:

Move to New York, don a black turtleneck, and cultivate an intellectual, artistic persona: I think I might like New York, but I am far from intellectual. And everything I know about art would not fill a thimble. Probably not such a good choice.

Move to the British Isles: Please note that I have not done any research to support this, but it seems like there would be a lot less pressure to be tan in such a cool, drizzly place. Based on what I see in my favorite BBC shows, I would love to live in England. But, it would require a lot of effort to move my entire life to another continent, and I am pretty lazy. Maybe someday, like after retirement. I just don't have the energy for that right now.

Become a Goth: From what I understand about the Goth lifestyle, pale skin is a prized asset. Bonus! All things considered, though, I think my personality is basically too sunny to embrace the dark side. The Goths probably would not welcome my love of all things pink, sparkly, cute, and cuddly.

Just get over myself and live with it, already: Hey, I'm lazy, remember?

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

aannnndd...we're back!

Sorry about that little impromptu vacation. I spent my evenings last week working Vacation Bible School at my church, and I was too wiped out to post when I got home at night. For those of you who aren't familiar with this phenomenon, it involves five nights of singing, dancing, screaming, squealing kids--and five workdays of being so tired you feel like you're going to die. Our church invites all of the neighborhood rugrats (in addition to our members' kids, of course), for a week of learning Bible stories, doing crafts, playing games, and singing songs. I helped to lead the group opening and closing activities, which were specifically designed to get the kids as hyped-up as possible. Figure in the kool-aid and cookies that we fed them for snack, and they were absolutely out of their little minds by the end of each evening. I think I had an advantage over some of the other workers, though, since I don't have any kids of my own. At the end of the night, I was able to retreat to my lovely,quiet, peaceful domicile, without any tiny jacked-up sugar fiends to keep me up until 1 am. All in all, we had a great time, but it was exhausting. I'm still recovering, so I'm going to take a couple of days and work on a real post. Just be thankful that I don't have any videos of those dance moves I was teaching last week. Trust me...no one wants to see that.

Can you spare a smiley for me?
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crocs, say it ain't so!

This segment on the CBS Evening News tonight has shaken me to the core. It seems that I may have bought my last pair of my beloved Crocs. The company lost over $185 million last year, and they only have until September to pay back the losses. Financial analysts are predicting that they're not going to make it.

(My very own pink Croc maryjanes, courtesy of Mr. Nerd)

I know, I know...most people hate Crocs. A Google search for "I hate Crocs" returned 258,000 hits, including a blog devoted entirely to loathing the colorful foam footwear. But, you know what? I don't care what people think! I wear Crocs and I am not ashamed to admit it.

My first encounter with Crocs was about four years ago, when I was having a lot of pain from an old ankle injury. I did a Google search for "therapeutic shoes" or somesuch, and the Crocs website was one of the hits. I read several reviews, tried on a pair, and I was sold. (The fact that they come in all kinds of gaudy wild colors was just a bonus.) Sure, they're ugly--there's no denying it. I would never wear them in a situation that called for more formal footwear. But, they are also comfortable. I torture my feet in heels at least four days a week, and on the weekends my little piddies demand a rest. Walking in Crocs, even all day, is heavenly. They're great for gardening, too; you can get them filthy, muddy, and wet, run them under the hose, and they're good as new. I have four pairs (including the fleece-lined ones for winter), and I will be sad to see them go.

On the bright side, though, if the company needs to make a lot of cash fast, maybe they'll have a sale! Shopping always makes me feel better.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What does your Shuffle say about you?

Okay, I gotta be honest. I saw this meme on Facebook, and I thought it looked like fun. I was going to just post it to my Facebook, but then I realized that it was high time that I came up with a blog post and, frankly, I was way too tuckered to write anything. But! I have a (sort of) good reason. I volunteered for some new responsibilities at work, and, between those and returning after ten days' vacation, my poor wee brain is so overwhelmed that I am simply not capable of coherent thought tonight.

So, here's the deal: the instructions said to set my iPod to Shuffle, and list the first 15 songs and artists that come up. I think this is supposed to tell you something about me. (Besides the fact that I'm too lazy to write a real post, that is.)

My Shuffle
"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" - U2
"SexyBack" - Justin Timberlake
"Think of Me" - Phantom of the Opera soundtrack
"Desire" - U2
"Summer Wind" - Michael Buble
"When Love Comes to Town" - U2
"No Action" - Elvis Costello
"Kissing A Fool" - Michael Buble
"Green Shirt" - Elvis Costello
"Wild Boys" - Duran Duran
"With or Without You" - U2
"(I Don't Want to Go to)Chelsea)" - Elvis Costello
"Only the Good Die Young" - Billy Joel
"Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo" - Pietro Mascagni
"View to a Kill" - Duran Duran

As you have probably guessed, I'm kind of all over the place musically. I'm not going to tag anyone, since I always feel guilty when I don't do memes. But, if you would like to use this idea on your blog, feel free! And, I promise at least one actual post before I start teaching Vacation Bible School next week. (Shudder.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Please excuse our dust...

Since I have been on vacation from work this week, I decided it may be time to re-do the blog...again. I have always wanted a custom header (but didn't want to pay for it), so I decided to try my hand at using a nifty little tool called ScrapBlog. A short seven hours later, I had a new header! ScrapBlog is pretty easy to use--the only reason it took me seven hours is because I am a total doofus when it comes to things like that. Some of the backgrounds, stickers, etc., require that you purchase credits from the site, but I used only the free items for my header. I do need to give major props to Sneaky Momma Blog Design. Without all the awesome tips and tutorials there, I would never have found ScrapBlog, or learned how to install my new header. All things considered, I am pretty happy with the result...particularly since it was free.

I am considerably less pleased, however, with the way the rest of the blog looks to go along with the header. Using the "edit HTML" function that Blogger offers was pretty difficult for me, and it bugs me that the colors don't match the header very well. Me, OCD? Why, yes! How did you ever guess? So, this is where you come in. I really would love to get some feedback on the new look. Please let me know what you think in a comment, as an email, or on Facebook!

Monday, June 29, 2009

And now...the long-awaited product review!

A few weeks ago, I purchased a new product that purported to "redefine your body's contours" and "reduce your waist, hips, and thighs by as much as two centimeters." At $12.99, it was a little pricey, but I thought it would be worth it if it could help me do something about my thighs. ("Thunder" doesn't adequately describe them. "Tornado" or "tsunami" thighs would probably be more appropriate.) I tried Nivea's My Silhouette for (roughly) six weeks. The packaging indicated that I should see results in four weeks, but...I didn't. So, I decided to give it a bit longer, since I was feeling generous and really hoping that it would work.

The result? Well, mostly inconclusive. I didn't actually measure any of my body parts, so I don't know if they're two centimeters smaller or not. Also during this period, I cut out nightly desserts and started doing Pilates, so any loss of centimeters could be attributed to that, rather than the lotion. My skin does feel nice and smooth, but I think my regular $2.99 Suave lotion would produce the same result if it was diligently applied twice a day, as I did with the Silhouette cream. The skin on my stomach did seem just a bit firmer, but the thighs, despite all my wishing and hoping, are completely unchanged. All in all, I would have to say that I did not get the results that Nivea says to expect from this product.

If you are interested in trying My Silhouette, I would recommend that you not go into it expecting a miracle. I am willing to accept, however, that it might work for someone else, and that my thighs may just be beyond all hope. So, if you decide to try it and get good results, please let me know. On the plus side, the cream smells really nice. I don't think I will buy another tube, though. Instead, I plan to spend that $12.99 on Good-bye Cellulite Gel-Cream, which is Nivea's new hail damage-busting product. What can I say? I am skeptical about a lot of things, but the dream of having thighs that don't jiggle will make me haul out my wallet every time.

Smiley me, please!
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why does it seem like everyone is turning into my grandmother?

You can't turn on the television these days without hearing someone talk about poo.

Oh, they're not explicitly discussing poo. It's all about "digestive health." Activia. Align. FiberOne. FiberPlus. There is even a brand of bottled water that contains extra fiber. They talk about pre- and probiotics, natural enzymes, and "cleansing" your body. In one of the commercials, the actress has even developed a little hand signal that, I presume, indicates that her innards are now functioning like a well-oiled machine, thanks to Activia. I'm sure you've seen plenty of these products by now, but you may be wondering: What does all this have to do with my grandmother?

I don't know if it was a generational thing, or just a personality quirk, but my grandmother could not exist without keeping tabs on the state of everyone's bowels. (She was a wonderful woman otherwise, though, and I loved her very much.) It wouldn't have been quite as mortifying if she had sought some privacy in which to make her inquiries, but, throughout my childhood, she would ask me about my bathroom habits in front of anyone and everyone. I was naturally introverted, and her questions made me wish the floor would open up and swallow me. Those conversations usually ended up with me insisting, "No, Granny! I DON'T NEED ANY PRUNE JUICE!!" (Most of the time, I was able to escape the dreaded prune juice. Although a dosing with castor oil was also threatened many times, it never happened. Whew.)

That early embarrassment must have scarred me for life or something, because I passionately hate all of those digestive health commercials. I don't really have a problem with the existence of the products themselves, I just wish we didn't have to discuss them on TV. Although, now that I think about it, maybe I do have a problem with the products themselves. What have we, as a society, done to our bowels to require all that "regulation?" Here's the thing, people: It's not that difficult to regulate your digestive system. Eat some fruits and veggies every now and then! Some whole grain bread! Drink some water! If you do that, everything should be fine...problem solved. Now, you can collect all the money you've been spending on those products, and send it to me instead.

And no, Jamie Lee Curtis, I DON'T NEED ANY ACTIVIA!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oompa-Loompa-Doop-A-De-Do

This could be the fate that awaits me:



Not because I crossed paths with some bad gum, but due to the astonishing quantity of fruit I've been eating lately. One of my favorite things about summer is the affordability and variety of fresh fruits at the grocery store, so I load up my cart every week. I was cleaning and cutting up this week's fruit haul yesterday afternoon, when I noted the following tally:
  • 2 pounds of strawberries
  • 1 pound of cherries
  • 1 pound of grapes
  • 2 pints of blueberries
  • 8 bananas
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 2 large deli-cut bowls of watermelon and fresh pinapple
Since I've been eating this much fruit every week for the past month, I fully expect to blow up like Violet Beauregarde any day now. I can only hope that the Oompa-Loompas roll me past that chocolate river on the way to be squoze.

Coming this week: I question the ever-increasing number of "digestive health" products on the market, and the follow-up to my fascinating product review!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We're Gonna Take a Break and Introduce the Band

At pretty much every concert I've ever been to, the band took a break at some point to introduce the members and give everyone a chance to play a little solo. Even if the group has been around forever, and most of their fans know more about the band members than their own relatives, they still go through the whole introduction thing at every show. I've been writing this blog for 10 months now, and I decided it may be time to devote a post to some of my band members (aka the other characters I write about here. Unfortunately, I'm not actually in a band, despite 25 years of fervent wishing.)

Your Host










So, this is me...absepa, for the purposes of this blog. That's not my real name, of course, but the husband is kind of squirrelly about identity theft and didn't want me to use my real name. I am 38, and I still live in my hometown in Kentucky. Since I did the dumbest thing ever and bailed on my college scholarship without getting a degree, I work as an administrative assistant. Over the past 20 years, I've worked at a life insurance company, a college textbook wholesaler, an equine insurance company, and a small private university. A little over four years ago, I was lucky enough to land a job in the Planning division of the local city government. It's a really good job, and I am so thankful to have it. During my clerical/admin "career," I have answered about a million inane questions; made thousands and thousands of copies; used many office machines in various stages of decrepitude; told an astonishing number of lies for bosses who refused to answer the phone or meet with people; and been cursed at, threatened, and called a liar. Some of those stories may eventually find their way here as blog fodder. Outside of work, I go to church, waste time online, and hang out with my husband, family, and dogs. I've been singing since I was seven years old, and would love nothing more than to be able to make a living doing it...but I'm not expecting to have a Susan Boyle moment anytime soon.

Mr. Nerd
My husband since 1996, who is kind of reclusive and most certainly would not want me to post his photo on the Internets. He's a few years older than me, and works in IT for the city government. Mr. Nerd is an amateur photographer and video gamer, very sarcastic and funny, and really handy at fixing things around the house. I don't write much about him here, mostly because he didn't ask to have his life made public on my blog.

The Dogs





Patches, Sebastian, and Abby, my three Cocker Spaniels. They're pretty spoiled, even though I try really hard not to be the Crazy Dog Lady. They never cease to amuse me, though, and they're great little companions. Patches is sweet and lazy; Sebastian is much smarter than a dog should be, and gets into lots of trouble; and Abby has an unfortunate tendency to kill critters in the yard. Two dead birds in just the past week, as a matter of fact.

Various Session Players
From time to time I write about my family, which includes my sister, M, and my mom, stepfather, and various aunts and an uncle. I wrote a couple of posts early on about my job, but my boss has probably discovered my blog through Facebook now, and I don't want to get fired. I guess I'll have to stick to stories about some of my old workplaces from now on.

So, that's the band. I haven't built up a large fan base at this point, but I'm grateful for every single reader. If you do read the blog, drop me a comment and let me know what you think! I love to know who's out there. We'll return to our regularly scheduled randomness next time.

Vote for me, please:
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Slap Chop to the Funny Bone

Mr. Nerd and I spent about an hour last night watching this video over and over. My sides ached from laughing so hard.



Now that you've watched the video, you should understand perfectly why my husband and I have been going around yelling, "Watch this! You're gonna love my nuts!" to each other. (Or maybe you won't--we really are kind of odd.) But the video is still brilliant. Mad props to djsteveporter.

Like the Rap Chop? Smiley me, please!
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Appliance Death II: Fall of the Machines

It's almost summer here in Nerdland, and the lawn is growing like crazy. We've been mowing twice a week for the past month or so. That is, until the mower crapped out on us last weekend. My smart husband, who is absolutely incredible at fixing broken things, managed to keep it working enough to cut the grass on Saturday. It wouldn't be such a big deal, but our sissy dogs won't endure the tall grass tickling their fannies, so they tend to turn the patio into a toilet whenever the lawn needs mowing. We tossed around the idea of buying a new mower (ours is a super-basic model AND it's 12 years old), but the husband decided to just buy a small engine repair book, fix the motor himself, and save the money.

Not to be outdone in the necessary-machine-falling-apart-at-a-critical-moment contest, the washer decided to die on Saturday, as well. Unfortunately, I had washed only one of our usual four weekly loads of laundry. The (brilliant) husband found the appropriate replacement part on eBay, and he should be making the repair sometime later this week. Hopefully no one will get too close at work until then, just in case we're smelly.

I would like to take this opportunity to implore that my remaining functional appliances not join in this suicide pact, please. We could probably do without the stove for a while, but the microwave, fridge, toaster, and air conditioner are absolute necessities. And the computer...dear Lord, please save the computer! After all, writing about your problems is a stress reliever, right? I'm definitely gonna need a stress reliever if I'm hot, hungry, wearing stinky clothes, and living in a poo-strewn-patio jungle.

Vote for me, please! I could use all the smilies I can get.
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Friday, June 5, 2009

A Few Thoughts on My New Exercise Program

For the past seven years, I have been on a quest to find some type of exercise that doesn't bore me to tears or hurt any of my injured body parts. Enter a seemingly endless parade of exercise DVDs. I have walked, bellydanced (which always gave Mr. Nerd a good laugh), blasted my fat, danced with(out) the stars, and succumbed to the lure of a device advertised by the uber-annoying Tony Little. Each of these options held my attention for a while, but I always ended up either losing interest or dealing with my bad ankle, so I moved on. Last weekend, I found yet another workout DVD that intrigued me--for the low, low price of $2--at Big Lots.

I'd heard a lot about Pilates, so I was pretty excited to bring home my new video and give it a try. After all, a lot of really cool celebrities attribute their totally smokin' bodies to this sytem, so there must be something to it. Right? Anyway, I've done a few sessions now, and I thought I might share some thoughts.

Monday
Awesome! I have a new workout DVD to look forward to.

(Later, after spending nearly 20 minutes opening the @#*& DVD)
Hey, this is kind of fun. The stretching part feels really nice, and nothing hurts. I think I'm going to enjoy this. But I'm starving, so I'm gonna have to cut it short tonight.

Wednesday
Okay, time for Pilates! I'm totally ready for the w
arm-up and abs or "floor" portion of the video. Maybe I can develop a six-pack! (Editor's note: HA! As if.)

Wow, this is kind of harder than I thought. My abs are getting pretty sore, but no pain, no gain, right? That six-pack isn't gonna come easy. Um, what the fudge is this "t-stand" thing she keeps talking about? Oh, crap:
What is this going to do to my messed-up shoulder? Should I try it? Oh, well...the therapist said exercise is good, as long as it's not past the point of pain. Ha! Point of Pain totally sounds like a thrash-metal band. They would have beard-braids like those dudes from System of a Down.

Editor's note: This is NOT a good idea for a messed-up shoulder, particularly when the Lortab prescription ran out and the doctor won't give you any more.

Thursday
Oh, man, I'm really sore. Just putting on my sports bra nearly made me cry. But, I really want to be healthier and more flexible. It will feel better after I stretch.

I am SO glad I'm not doing this in a class. I can't imagine getting in this position in front of other people. This is not ladylike at all. And please, God, don't let Mr. Nerd come down the stairs while I have my butt over my head like this. He has too much stuff to laugh at me about already.

Are other people's dogs this annoying? Every time I lie down on the floor, I end up with one cold snout in my ear, one in the small of my back, and a furry butt sitting on my forehead. It's a miracle I haven't given one of them a concussion during the leg lifts.

Arrrggh, the leg lifts. My butt muscles feel like they're going to burst into flames. But I'm determined to make it through the whole video tonight.

Friday
So, Pilates tonight? Or take Facebook quizzes and watch Family Guy?

I'll leave you to guess which one I chose. Here's a hint: I am a Lyric Master, my Disney Princess name is Aurora, and TBS is showing the episode with Brian's gay cousin.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Friday Photo Fun

Sorry...it was going to be Flickr Fun Friday, but it takes a really long time to look through all those pictures. We'll have to make do with one of my photos, instead:

My silly dog, Patches. And yes, I am holding him like a baby. He's pretty rotten...and really cute.

Have a happy Friday!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Even though I'll be turning 39 in a couple of months, I don't really feel that old. Except for a few aches and pains and some crows' feet, I usually try to think of myself as pretty young. Sometimes, though, it takes someone else to make one feel a little aged.

I was teaching preschool at church this morning, and we were bringing the little ones in from the playground. Two of the girls wanted to hold my hands, so we were walking along and having a nice chat. One of the girls asked if she could ride on my back. I told her that I was afraid I couldn't carry her on my back, and was getting ready to explain why (I have a bad shoulder). At that point, the other little girl said (very sweetly and sympathetically), "I know why you can't carry her...it's because you're too old, isn't it?" So much for feeling young! I guess to a five-year-old I must seem pretty ancient.

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And now, for a bit of blog housekeeping. First of all, I am incredibly excited to announce that I have joined Humor-Blogs.com!! It must have been the puppy face. My main reason for joining was to try to increase traffic to my blog, so that I could break free from Entrecard. I don't think it's a bad system; I just don't have time to give it the attention it deserves. So, as of today, I have removed the Entrecard widget from my blog and requested that my account be cancelled. I don't have any pending ads right now, but, if you had requested an ad, I apologize for leaving you hanging. If you came here from Entrecard, thanks for reading, and please stick around. Hopefully I will be able to use the time I was spending managing my Entrecard stuff actually writing on the blog, so please check back. If you like what you read here, please vote for me at Humor-Blogs.com! I'm a little confused about how to work the little widget-y link-y post-voting thing, but I will try to get it figured out before my next post.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An Apology, a Funny, a Shameless Plea, and an Award

An Apology
To any EntreCard droppers who have dropped here in the past five days or so, I apologize. I totally have not had sufficient time to devote to EC recently. I am thinking of getting out of EC, but I need to find another means of advertising/networking first. More about that below.

A Funny
Part of my job is answering phones. I don't have to help many folks; mostly, I just route calls out to the appropriate people. Sometimes, though, the callers make it almost impossible for anyone to help them. I went through this little scenario last week:

Caller: I'd like to speak to Bob Shipping, please.

Me: Ma'am, there are several men named Bob here, but no one whose last name is Shipping. Do you know which Bob you need to speak with?

Caller: There's no Bob Shipping? That's how I wrote his name down.

Me: Ma'am, there's no Bob Shipping...this is Shipping. You've called the Shipping Department.

Caller: But, I know I wrote down Bob Shipping! Can you please check and make sure there's no one there by that name?

**At this point, I wanted to say, "Lady, have you ever known anyone whose name was "Shipping"? And, assuming that there was someone by that name, what kind of coincidence would it be for him to WORK IN THE SHIPPING DEPARTMENT??"**

Me: Ma'am, can you tell me what this is concerning? That could help me find your party for you.

Fortunately, she knew what she was calling about, so I was able to figure out who she needed. It was indeed a Bob, but his last name is not remotely close to "Shipping." Go figure.

A Shameless Plea
Since I've been thinking about getting out of EC, I've been trying to find another way to network/market my blog. I found a lot of my favorite blogs through Humor-Blogs.com, so I thought I might take a shot at registering my blog with them. I did the registration part a few days ago, but I haven't heard anything yet. So, Diesel, if you're reading this post, this puppy face is for you:
Pretty please? I would love to be part of Humor-Blogs.com!

An Award
This is so exciting--I got my first award!! Stacie very graciously gifted me with a "One Lovely Blog" award. It has a really cool button thingy, but I am seriously lame and couldn't figure out how to post it here. Thanks, Stacie, and sorry I suck at the whole technology thing. If you haven't checked out Stacie's blog, you should! She's a mom, which I'm pretty sure means that she has WAY more irritation in her life than I do, and she's really funny. She also has a very cool header that I have coveted on more than one occasion. Thanks again, Stacie!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's About Time You Got Here

Spring, I mean. (Not you, dear readers!) After a hellish winter, we have been suffering through a long, cold, WET spring. I was dealing with it pretty well for a while, but the four nights I spent shivering in the yard while I covered up the "tender vegetation" (that's what the meteorologists call it, and it makes me chuckle for some reason) used up my last bit of patience with this season.

Finally, though, spring seems to have really arrived. We have had three warm, lovely, dry days in a row. Today was perfect--temperatures in the high 70s, with no humidity and bright clear sun. I am currently sitting on my patio for the first time this year, and it is wonderful. Thanks to all the rain, the landscaping we put in last year is thriving. So, Spring, I am willing to forgive and forget all those April mornings that I trudged in to work in my winter clothes, longing for the day when I could haul out the sandals and set my toes free.

Now, I just need to figure out how to remove those airborne poop-delivery systems (aka birds) that have taken up residence in the vent on the back side of the house. I had to spend 30 minutes cleaning their leavings off the patio before I was able to enjoy it. I'm thinking a small explosive charge oughta do the trick; does anyone have a better idea?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Coming Soon: Bye-bye, Thunder Thighs?

A few years ago, I lost 40 pounds on the Weight Watchers program. I've manged to keep the weight off, but, when the fat went away, it left some...unattractive remnants, shall we say. I've never really expected to have a six-pack, but it would be great to firm up some of those problem areas. I assumed the only way to do that was via lots of boring exercise. Until last weekend, when I saw a commercial that might (or might not) change my life.

Nivea has introduced a product called My Silhouette:
that claims to "redefine the appearance of the body's contours." The commercial insinuated that inches could be lost, and I was intrigued. I almost never fall for this kind of thing; I usually try to live by the old "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" philosophy. But, when I went to the grocery store on Tuesday, I found myself seeking out the Nivea products to price a tube of My Silhouette. It was $12, and the package claimed that although the product is "not intended for weight loss" it could reduce up to three centimeters from my waist, belly, hips, and thighs. Coincidentally, those are all the spots with the worst hail damage. Right into the cart it went.

I will be doing a full review of my (hopefully) magical flab-reducing potion in four weeks, which is how long the package says it takes to see results. I've been applying it twice a day since Tuesday, and things do seem a bit smoother, but only time will tell. I really don't expect a miracle. But, if a product promises to reduce the size of my mighty thunder thighs and help stop them flappin' in the breeze (it is shorts weather, after all), then I am at least going to give it the old college try. Stay tuned for the review in mid-June!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Busier Than A...

One-armed paperhanger. One-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. Bee. Insert your favorite analogy here, because I've had a busy couple of weeks. Since I feel kind of bad for not posting for a while, here is a rundown of some of the things that have kept me away from the blog.

Thinking I Had Appendicitis
I spent one evening last week at the walk-in clinic, to see if my appendix was causing all the stomach pain I have been having. This is the pearl of wisdom I received from the physician's assistant: "I know that you don't have appendicitis, but I have no idea what you do have." Awesome--I had to pay a $20 co-pay AND get poked really hard in the belly for that.

Not Finding a Mother's Day Gift
Usually, when my mom asks for clothes for Mother's Day, I just take her shopping. She's kind of tough to buy for, and that way I can be sure that she gets something she likes. This year, though, she asked me to pick out an outfit for her. I live in a metropolitan area with a population of 300,000 people...and it appears that everyone's mom is the same size as mine. I waited until the last minute, then looked at every dress in three stores, and found nothing. I ended up giving Mom a gift card, and feeling like a loser.

Playing with My New Toys
I mentioned to Mr. Nerd a couple of weeks ago that I would like to have a painting program and a tablet to use it with. Not for any particular reason; I've just always liked to noodle around with art stuff. Mr. Nerd took it upon himself to order the items in question from Amazon, and I got them set up over the weekend. The only problem I've had so far is that Corel Painter does not come with art talent pre-installed. I couldn't draw when I was taking art classes in high school, and all the fancy computer equipment in the world doesn't seem to help. For example, it took me two days to produce this:

(It's a stargazer lily, in case you can't tell. And I would be amazed if you could tell.) I stink at the Painter thing, but it's lots of fun. And, I've discovered another way to waste time and avoid doing chores!

So, that's what I've been up to for the past couple of weeks. My next big project: contemplating what kind of havoc I can wreak on my back yard. I have landscaping fever, and that never ends well. I'll be sure to post photos if I come up with anything interesting.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flickr Fun Friday: It's Inescapable

I'm talking about the Kentucky Derby, and it is, indeed, inescapable, if you live in Kentucky. The Run for the Roses is this weekend, and I'm...well, not all that interested, really. Horses are kind of nice to look at, but I don't really like to be around them ("large" "unpredictable" and "temperamental" are not qualities I look for in an animal) . I hate losing my money on bets, and you could not pay me to fight the massive crowds at the race. Unless, you know, I was invited to sit in Prince William's royal box or something. But, for anyone who is interested in the race but cannot actually make it to Churchill Downs, I thought I could provide a glimpse of what you will be missing, courtesy of Flickr:

Hats
(courtesy of velo steve's photostream)

Knowing my luck, my seat would be behind this lady.

Drunk People
(courtesy of bhenak's photostream)

Based on some of the stories I've heard, you will see a lot of drunk people. And they will probably be covered in a nice, thick layer of mud, since it's supposed to rain pretty much nonstop from now until post time.

Oh, and yeah...Some Horse Races
(courtesy of boboroshi's photostream)

There will be a bunch of races, but I
don't know if anyone will actually notice or not. They will all be too busy modeling hats, downing mint juleps, losing money faster than the current economy, getting stuck in the infield mud, and trying to scope out celebrities.

If you do decide to go to the Derby, I hope you have a great time! I think I'll just hang out here, where it's quiet, cool, and dry. And no one will throw up on me.

(And I realize it's Thursday night, not Friday, but I knew I wouldn't have time to post tomorrow.)