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'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 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?

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!


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)


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?

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.


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

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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