Friday, April 27, 2012

How Do I Get This Fuzzball Off My Nipple?

Did you ever have one of those days? I'm talking about one of those days when you just can't hardly take it anymore. I'm talking about those days when you just want to take a long, long nap and you really don't care if you ever wake up because that would mean you are committed to joining the ranks of reality again. I'm talking about those days when you wonder to yourself, "How in the heck to I get this fuzzball off my nipple?"

Here, perhaps a graphic will help you understand what I mean.

My poor Penny with 5 week old pups

Look at her face. I know what she's thinking. She's thinking, "I have to raise these things until they're HOW OLD!? Lord, how do I get this fuzzball off my nipple? Help me..."

Keep in mind that as large breed dogs, these pups are absolutely huge. At five weeks old, these puppies are bigger than our year old cats or our mini-weenie. They're fat chunks of fur and they just hang from my poor Penny's nipples like a Pitbull hanging from a rope, jaws mercilessly clamped in place. They don't even try to support themselves. They could stand up, but they don't. They hang. When Penny runs, her belly hangs so low that the loose skin flops from side to side like heavy water balloons. This is why I never had my own children. I adopted.

As humans, we get tired. Not just moms, but as any living being, life can be exhausting. Penny's pups are very cute and she loves them, no doubt. Their daddy loves them too. But he is so big that he can inadvertently hurt them without meaning to. He has learned that human mommy will get very mad at him if he hurts a pup, so all interaction with papa dog is monitored. And certainly NEVER around food. Ever. Daddy doesn't care if you're a cute little puppy. He'll bite your head off for some kibble. My husband gets the same way when he's really cranky. Buddy's not a very good puppy babysitter either, even though he tries. One loving plop of his paw on a pup sends it crying like it's being stabbed to death. It's quite dramatic. And mama Penny could care less. She's tired.

Buddy and daughter sweetie moment. Just starting to focus, this sweet little girl yelped
and ran when she realized how big Buddy really was.

My pups are weaning. It's time. They're almost ready to go to new homes. I just have to post a few pics because I can't resist. Then this blog post is over because I have to go get my kids from the bus stop. How long do I have to raise those things? [Repeats chant - seven more years max - seven more years max]

I'm fairly certain that if our offspring weren't so darn cute sometimes, we would all eat our young. I know there have been times when I've considered going all Hannibal Lecter on my own children and eating their liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. Thank God for parental restraint. I exercise that muscle almost daily.

My children both just made their respective cheerleading teams. Normally positive about such things, the first thing I thought was, "Crap. This is going to cost a lot of money. Money for outfits. Money for hair products. Money for snacks at every game. Money for gas to pick them up from every practice and game. Money, travel, money, transport, money, shuttle, money, clothes, money, food. Mama exhaustion."

But what came out of my mouth, like a good mother, was this: "Congratulations, honey, I'm so proud of you!"

I'm sure Penny is proud of her pups too. She just likes to go in the woods and hide behind a tree occasionally so they don't see her. I get that, Penny. I sooooo get that.

Monday, April 23, 2012

3KoP - Three Kinds of People - Lovers, Haters & Debaters

I like to engage in human observation. In this line of work, I do it electronically at times by receiving feedback on my blog via commenters. Faceless usernames "like" me, a stranger I've never met makes a great point in a comment on my blog post, or (as happened with my last post) a random unknown labels me condescending and inflammatory and unsubscribes.

Today, I pay homage to Susan Bearman's 2KoP (Two Kinds of People) contest in which the entrant points out the differences in two types of people. I entered with my I Pee In The Shower post, which remains my most read post so far. I wrote it specifically for the contest and nervously posted it as a blog entry as well. I expected a firestorm of response... against my decision to pee in the shower and the fact that I would talk about it. I received very little storm and instead received a shocking response... support! However, life doesn't always roll that way.

I now present to you my version of the 2KoP:

3KoP - Three Kinds of People - Cindy Brown style, cyber version...

In my view, there are three types of people in the blogosphere:

  1. Lovers
  2. Haters
  3. Debaters
Which one are you? The winning entry in the 2KoP was Norine Dworkin-McDaniel who wrote an edgy essay titled Circumcision Decision about the difference in opinion she and her husband had on the subject of circumcising their son and the process they went through to get to an eventual decision. It was a funny piece, very well written, and Norine and I became fast online friends as a result of the contest. Norine received a firestorm, a hailstorm, and a fire and brimstone storm for her essay.

I didn't read the horrid comments Norine told me about, but I noted this unfortunate event in my mind and thought, "Oh, Lord, it's coming. I'm going to get blasted for a post eventually too." So when I did my post about going to black church last week and loving it (and yes, I'm still going to call it that), I knew that could be the one. All day, I thought about what had happened to Norine Dworkin-McDaniel. I said several things that could be attacked in my post if it fell in front of the wrong eyes. But who would attack me? The racists? The Republicans? The God bashers? The alcohol prohibition supporters?

I didn't know who, but I knew that somehow, I was probably going to get Dworked. I was going to get a Dworking, I just knew it! Someone was going to crucify me like they did Norine Dworkin-McDaniel for her post on a subject I have no opinion on, since I have had no boys of my own. I got home at the end of the day after my black church post went live and [insert Twilight Zone music] found Norine's latest post waiting in my inbox, Strangers - Extremely Rude and Incredibly Kind which included this heartbreaking paragraph:

"For circumcising my child — daring to make light of it — I was called evil. A horrible mother. A vapid bitch. A baby mutilator. An emasculator of men. A disgrace to my country — and apparently to all Jewish people too. One of the many rabid commenters who likened circumcision to female genital mutilation wrote that he wished I’d “get kicked in the vagina so hard I’d need my clitoris removed.” I’m not sure that’s the best statement he could make against authentic genital mutilation, but so be it."

I couldn't believe what people said to her! I was immediately embarrassed by the human race, incredulous that they could be so unkind to another human being with such ease. I e-mailed my new friend and told her I was bracing for my own inevitable Dworking. It didn't come. It didn't happen. And then, BAM! Just like that, I got Dworked. Thankfully, it was only a mild Dworking and Norine was kind enough to give me lots of advice on how to handle it if things got nasty, but they didn't.

I had plenty of people who completely got the meaning of my post, which was that I tried a new church that was out of my cultural comfort zone and I loved it. My true fans knew my intent was good and not condescending and showered me with lovely comments congratulating me for my willingness to explore something new. Those are my "Lovers". I've always subscribed to the philosophy of "make love, not war," and these people are definitely on my side of the combat zone.

Before even promoting my post much, I had contacted a dark-skinned friend (heck, I'm not sure what it's okay to call him anymore) and asked for his feedback on my post. Was it okay for me to refer to it as "black church," I asked, or is African-American more acceptable? His response was this:

Cindy, I personally prefer Black to being called African American. If you dropped me off in Africa I wouldn't know where to go!! Also, Africans from Africa look down on Blacks born in America in many instances. But the main thing is...I'M AMERICAN!! I would have to go back many generations to find an ancestor who wasn't born on American soil. So guess what. I'm American! 

Glad you love the church. Black Church is fine! It is much more upbeat and spirited than a traditional "White" church. Especially if you at a Holy Ghost rolling church where they get to praising and the organist get the praise music going!!

I felt confident that I would not be blasted and might possibly avoid a Dworking for calling it black church. I felt love from the comments people were leaving and thought, "Great, they get me - they really get me! I didn't tick anyone off after all!"

Enter the "Hater."

No, it wasn't an Obama hater, nor a God hater, not an alcohol hater... but an African-American. This woman was mad that I had referenced having "black friends" even though my dark-skinned friend told me he prefers black to African-American. She said many other things that made it sound like I said things I didn't say, misinterpreted how I was poking fun at myself in the post by calling myself, "whitey," and made it very clear that she was upset with my post.

I wanted to fire back at her with all sorts of verbal ammunition and use a comparison of asking how you would differentiate black chocolate as opposed to white chocolate without calling them by color, but then I came back to my senses and laughed a little at myself. My mother once told me, "Cindy, if you fire back in a situation where someone is talking bad about you, then you are just lowering yourself to their level." I haven't always been able to follow that advice in my lifetime, but the words and lesson stuck in my head.

The point is that with haters, you can't win. Don't even bother getting upset. No matter what you say, someone is going to take offense to it somehow and they will angrily tell the world about it. I could say that rainbows are wonderful and some hater would point out that it's the symbol for being gay. I don't care if it is! I like rainbows. And furthermore, I have gay friends, atheist friends, black friends, Wiccan friends, Jewish friends, black family members, religious friends, tall friends, party rockin' friends, straight laced friends, hick friends, rich friends, poor friends, and friends of probably every label under the sky!

My hater was kind enough to name herself "Unsubscribing" (her anonymity didn't work, by the way... I know who you are) when commenting and then started talking about me in third person instead of directly, indicating that she probably was writing a blog post about how awful I am and posting it on her own site. I hope her readers like it. I remain who I am with no apologies.

Also, her unsubscribing trend apparently didn't catch on. I gained readers instead. Perhaps I do have a new "holy roller" (as another commenter put it) contingency. That term does not offend me, by the way. Some people refer to religious people in that way and that's just how it is. I do try to be holy (not to be confused with "holier than thou") and I do sometimes roll in a holy way, so perhaps it's fitting. Offending me is not going to be easy. I am a writer and these things come with the territory with me putting my life out there for all to read.

The term "holy roller" was used by my "Debater." I honestly didn't take it in a negative way, but I guarantee you, somebody out there somewhere hates that term and would be so offended to be known as such. I've been labeled before and plenty, sometimes justifiably so, sometimes completely so dead wrong. Either way, I lived.

I like my debaters. They get, like commenter Lynne Favreau, that a writer deserves a respectful tit-for-tat. Lynne gave me wonderful feedback on what she found insensitive or stereotypical, giving me encouragement for what she liked, and a friendly slap on the wrist to indicate how I might improve my writing in the future. Bravo, Lynne Favreau, for coming to my defense and at the same time showing the world how to be a grown-up and have an intelligent conversation. I love what Lynne said. All of it, the positive and the critique. I respect you. And thank you for using your real name.

I recently commented to fellow writer, Rachel Thompson (see her blog here, when she commented about being unfairly slammed for her work, that criticism and critique are two totally different things. People who criticize often just mean to hurt you, and being anonymous online makes it all the easier, doesn't it? People who critique are trying to be helpful and are showing you both sides of the coin, what you did right and what could be improved. They are nice about it. They are kind about it. Those are the people I will listen to, my friends. Those are the people writers can learn from. Debaters say it without getting angry. They are controlled and calm. They earn your respect.

So, I'm keeping my Lovers, I'm keeping my Debaters, and I'll let the Hater comment stand to speak for itself (at least one person "liked" the hater comment, so she has peeps too), but I'm letting you know that if things ever do get really nasty on my blog, I will probably delete the comments just because I don't want to put more hatred out in the world. I went back to that church on Sunday. I love the people there. I love the black people there. I love the white people there. I love the wild people there. I love the red-headed people there. Spread the love, spread the love, spread the love, would ya already?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Went To Black Church Tonight... Am I Supposed To Be Black?

Since we moved two years ago to our dream home/property, we were forced to leave our church. We loved our church. It was perfect for all of us at the time and we felt good being there. The people were very nice, fun, young, and non-judgmental. I loved the pastor's sense of humor and the size of 800+ people, the coffee bar, the media presentation, the cool stage props and backdrop. I loved everything about it. But since we moved an hour away, it's a little unrealistic to continue to go there. We moved to a much smaller area and there aren't as many progressive large churches here, so we've church-hopped. It's like bar-hopping, except there are communions with grape juice instead of shots with Jagermeister.

When we shopped for a house two years ago, all four of us had our "dream" requirements and those had to be fulfilled in order for us to move. It had to feel right for everyone, not just one or two of us. We knew the minute we looked at this place that it was meant for us and we were all in agreement.

I think we just found that in a church. Only thing is, it's a black church. Have you seen my picture? We are what some black folk might call "whitey." But I love this church and all indications were that they loved me right back! I'm pretty sure I was supposed to be black. I'm so convinced after tonight that I wonder if maybe Jesus wasn't black. He must not have been, though, because if he was black, the preaching in the Bible would have had more exclamation points.

I have black friends, by the way, who will hopefully tell me whether or not it's disrespectful to call it black church, but the distinction needs to be made for the purpose of this post so I'm sticking with the term with no offense intended. Is it more PC to call it "African American church?" I don't know, so I'm just calling it black church because I've honestly never heard the term "African American church." It sounds like something a prissy-pants would be forced to say.

My oldest daughter and my husband went there on Sunday while I was at the winery, so they had prepared me. I know what you're thinking. You're either thinking, "Sinner!" or "I want some wine."

I was a little afraid I would feel out of place or like they wouldn't want me there, but there is none of that in a black church! It was like going down south to my grandma's house in Kentucky, except there was more hugging at black church. I even got a group hug on my very first visit tonight! People hugged me that I didn't even know before they said, "Hello." We weren't the only white people there. They were few, but there were others there, so it wasn't like they were hugging us because we were special. They were just hugging us because we were there and that made them happy. I could tell they pour love on everyone who walks through that front door.

As always happens when you're where God wants you to be, the subject of the class tonight was exactly to the tee about several things I am currently dealing with. It's scary how God can pinpoint your life via a speaker when he really wants to. I had to reign it in. I had to shut my mouth. I had to keep from speaking up and dominating the conversation. There were at least five different times when I could have spoken up, but I only spoke out once. For me to hold my tongue is torture. So of course the speaker even talked about that very thing! Every word seemed aimed at me. My neck will probably be sore tomorrow from nodding vigorously in agreement.

If you know me, you know my speaking style and the kind of places I like to spend time. You wouldn't expect me to love a small church whose parking lot is full of potholes, the porch light hangs precariously from it's anchor, the speaker says, "If you ain't got the Holy Spirit, then you never gonna have nothin'!" and proper English is second to a black vernacular I'm not accustomed to. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not making fun. It was raw and real and unadulterated. I understood most of what was said, but the important thing is that what I didn't understand... well, I felt it. There were no bells and whistles needed. I must admit, I miss the coffee bar though.

I don't care how they talk. I understood the language. The spirit of that place dwells within me. It was a spirit of love, truth, transparency, hope, and faith above all things worldly. They "get" God. I want God. I've missed the passion for God that my family and I once had - together.

I just took this picture recently of the giant cross in Effingham, IL, the town
I used to live in and thought, "Now what am I going to use that picture for?"
Ask and ye shall receive, sista!

I always wondered if I'd like a black church. I remember having a conversation years ago at my old church with a gal who told me that in a staff meeting, they asked the staff what could get the church more pumped up and she responded, "More black people!" She was right. They Amen when it hits them, they wave their hands like nobody's looking, and they love God without a doubt. It's a real life Madea movie.

I once said that I must have been black in a previous life because I love T.D. Jakes, I love Oprah, I love Barack Obama (okay, I'm going to lose some of you there), I love Tyler Perry, and the list goes on. I felt right at home there tonight. I have a feeling someday they will refer to me as Sister Cindy. I've only been there once, so time will tell if I am really an outspoken black woman in a little white girl's body.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Warning: Consumption of This Blog May Cause Loose Laughter

Warning labels - they're everywhere. But do you read them? I am one of those oddballs who will read an entire instruction manual or back of a box of whatever even if I think I already know it all. I read directions, instructions, manuals and the like and therefore, I know more things about my electronic devices than you will ever know. But when was the last time you checked the label on things you use in your home on a regular basis? This is Everyday Underwear, after all, so let's explore a few everyday things and bemuse why those instructions might have ended up there.

Formula 409
Any yahoo knows that you use this product to clean around the kitchen or bathroom. It says "All Purpose Cleaner," after all. But then if you take the time to read the back, you'll find it's not for all purposes. In fact, who knew it isn't recommended for soft vinyl, varnishes, or aluminum? Not me! Until I read the label, that is. Ah, but Cindy, these things sound reasonable!

Yes, they are. But did you know you aren't supposed to use it to clean food? I'm not lying. It says right on the back, "Avoid contact with food." I know, you're thinking that it doesn't mean that, but that someone cleaned the counter with it and then sat their apple on it and became ill as a result. Oh no, no... that would be too easy. What probably happened was that somebody somewhere thought, "This apple sure feels greasy. Why, I think I'll just wash it off with my favorite kitchen cleaner, Formula 409! It's for all kitchen purposes, says so right on the front!" (If you read that last sentence with the voice of Ernest P. Worrell in your head, it plays better, by the way.) That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. A lawyer probably made them say that.

Suave Professionals Shampoo
Yes, I know how to use my shampoo and so do you, but for fun, read the labels. You'll find a gem like this one: "Did you know that your family could save up to $150 and 3,200 gallons of water per year by turning off the water when you shampoo and condition?" Let that one sink in for a minute...

Okay, now let's discuss. I can see the genius of the marketing department meeting now, "Sally, come up with a catchy phrase about conserving water for the back of our shampoo bottles and have it on my desk by Monday!" With an enthusiastic, "Yes, sir!" Sally produces the above quote and it sounds wonderful. Sounds like a great way to conserve water, doesn't it? Sure! It's a great idea! Sally even gets a raise. But did Sally try it out and freeze her tush off while the water was off? I doubt it. Did Sally turn the water off while lathering up, inadvertently get shampoo suds in her eye (thus temporarily blinding herself) and then scald herself because she couldn't see to get the water adjusted right again when she scrambled, screaming in pain, to turn the water back on? I doubt it.

I don't know about you, but part of the reason I like taking a shower is to be enveloped in nice hot water for the entirety of the experience. Excuse me, but I'll pay the extra $150 a year to keep the goosebumps and chattering teeth away and if suds get in my eye, I can flush it immediately and safely away. Call me a pansy, I don't care. I'm not turning my water off mid-shower.

I'd like to challenge each member of Suave management to try this helpful suggestion for one solid week and get back to me with the results. If I want to save money with my shower, I will use this method from a previous post. Toilet paper conservation is another matter altogether, but golly, Suave, we are already saving plenty by using your very good and reasonably priced shampoo, now stop trying to ruin my shower with these silly suggestions. I have a well. It self replenishes. I don't need to save 3,200 gallons of water by freezing my bazongas off during the wash cycle.

Clearasil Acne Cream
"For external use only." Need I say more? Holy moly, you have a pimple WHERE? Oh my Lord, go to the doctor or something, don't try and put Clearasil in your [insert favorite orifice here]! Good gravy, what are you thinking? Clearasil says on the tube, "This product may cause skin irritation, characterized by redness, burning, itching, peeling or possibly swelling," and you want to use it internally? Whyyyyy?  Um, hello, read the label before you end up in the ER.

Ultra Downy with Febreze
Let me just say first off that all of these products are great and I'm not bashing them in any way. I just think the labels, warnings, and instructions are funny. I love this fabric softener. The smell is so wonderful that if I were a bath-taking kind of gal, I would want to bathe in it. So of course I want to use it on my towels, robe, clothes, jammies, etc. so that when I get out of my hot shower (ahem, Suave, are you listening?) I can wrap myself in the essence of fabulous fragrance that is Downy with Febreze.

And then I read the label. "Warning: Liquid fabric softener can increase fabric flammability. Using more than recommended can increase this effect. Do not use this product on children's sleepwear or garments labeled as flame resistant as it may reduce flame resistance. Do not use this product on garments made with fluffier fabrics (such as fleece, velour, chenille, and terry cloth).

Okay, first of all, I'm supposed to wash all items made of those fabrics separately or not use it in any load which contains those fabrics? Downy, I am not sure I can use your product at all! I might catch fire! Oh my Lawd! Are you kidding? The scene plays out in my head... I get out of the shower, grab my towel, and poof! I spontaneously combust. Dangit! Okay, so I am exaggerating and I'm sure the warnings are for good reason, but I am not going to stop using my Downy on my towels, jammies or robe. I will smell good when I die.

NOS Energy Drink
Okay, now how many times have you read this label? Any times? Be honest. You just drink it for the energy buzz, don't you? I have an extreme aversion to energy drinks, but my husband drinks them occasionally. My kids want them so bad and I refuse to let them have them. Guess what? Read the label, 'cause they aren't supposed to have them! "Not recommended for individuals under 18 years of age, pregnant or nursing women, or those sensitive to caffeine."

The first thing covers both of my girls. The last thing covers all children. If a kid who isn't out of school and is still enrolled in PE classes needs more energy, there is something wrong unless they have a disorder of some kind. All children go ape when given too much caffeine in the first place. If my littlest has too much sugar or sneaks some of my coffee, she literally bounces off the walls, yet both of my kids think they need energy drinks. Kids all over the place are drinking them. If you are a guilty parent, are you reading the label?

And I don't want to know what would happen if I were pregnant or nursing and "fed" that to my baby. The tiny babe would probably fly around like a rendition of Flight of the Bumblebee in my belly and then practice kickboxing on the walls of my uterus. Why, I would never! Of course, I would never be pregnant either, so the point is moot for me.

Well, that's enough for today. I will have more humorous labels in the future. Please remember that this is a humor blog and all of the preceding statements are made in the context of humor. If your feathers have become ruffled by any statements herein, please read my "About Humor Writer Cindy Brown" section on the top right of my home page. It explains in detail what to do and how to remedy your unfortunate condition.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

You Sure Have Bad Breath, But Love is Fur Real

Some of you know me well, but the majority of you are getting to know me on the fly. You read my snippets of life and, in the end, you may get to know me better than my own loved ones could possibly hope to know me.

I've had many adventures in life, but a new passion is raising Great Pyrenees dogs. A Christmas gift for the kids, it quickly turned into a business venture. To make money, you ask? Yes, there's money in it, but oh my, my, my... the puppies are irresistible and that is the main reason I do this thing called love... puppy love.

I don't have Easter bunnies or some warm and fuzzy story about The Resurrection for you today. I always leave the obvious to somebody else. I have warm fuzzy puppies for you for my Easter post and I think that's fine.

I admit it. I'm too cute for words.
I am a great guard dog and
a warrior princess
I like to burp.

Are you talkin' to me?!

I do not know what makes my puppies' breath so horrible. I suspect they eat each other's poop, although I've never witnessed it. However, nothing - and I mean nothing - will keep me from snuggling these puppies, not even skunky smelling poop breath.

While writing this post, I have gotten up no less than five times to check on my fussing pups. Why did I choose to have a career AND be a mother? I don't know. My oldest daughter, now nearly 14, once told me that dogs were better than people. Although I used to disagree, some days I do quite agree and can't come up with a compelling argument against that line of thought.

I have seen other mothers post about this motherhood thing and I have more than two cents worth to put in on the subject. I never wanted my own children. Don't get me wrong here, I knew I would have children someday, but I never had that yearning for my own like most women have. I never wanted to go through labor. I never dreamed about being pregnant. I never wanted to be awakened ten times during the night for a fussy li'l babe. I never had any interest in having a child nestled to my breast, partaking of the sweet nectar of life.

Side note: I swear, those pups will suck on anything at all, thinking it's a boob. Why, I was afraid I'd get a hicky from one of them the other day during a neck snuggle! Anything smooth, pretty much anything at all, must appear nipple-like to a puppy. My thumb. Their blanket. Their sister's ear. Their brother's um... well, at that age, puppy manhood must resemble a nipple. In their defense, they can't see properly yet and barely have their eyes open. They are just three weeks old and I'm sure incest is the last thing on their minds.

I never thought about being a mother, yearned for it, came up with baby names, and I just didn't desire it. I wanted children that were in pull-ups already. Lucky for me, when I met my current husband and love of my life, he gave me children already in pull-ups, just as I had hoped for. No stretch marks. No bawling babies. No sleepless nights. Perfect. A dream come true!

Raising puppies, however, has given me what I missed with small children; sleepless and interrupted nights, frequent loads of laundry, constant worry about their safety. Just like with human motherhood, these things are all worth it when I hear a crying puppy and I go to check the problem and what it really wants is... held. It's been a metaphor for me lately. I understand the infantile need for love ingrained in all beings. We just want and even need nothing more than love. We want and need to be held, nurtured, snuggled. Yes, even if we have crap for breath. We just want a good hug.

It doesn't take long for the fussy puppy to breathe slower, close its weary eyes, and relax into a puddle on my chest once I pick it up and rock it slowly to and fro, whispering calming things in its ear. I've had a couple of stressful situations the past day or so that made me realize how much like that puppy I really am. I just want to be held. Just hug me. Just cuddle me and make me feel loved.

If you think that's pathetic, your heart must be as cold and hard as stone. If you don't ever feel that way yourself, you're missing out on a great part of being alive. Needing someone is one of the greatest feelings in life. It gives you purpose. It gives them purpose. Let me tell you, if you feel you have no one and you are utterly alone, Beetlejuice movie scene style, I highly recommend a puppy. Kittens also do nicely, although there is a possibility of them attacking your eyes with their sharp little claws while you sleep. Yes, I've had that happen.

I will tell you more about love in future posts - love for my family, love for my friends, love for my children, and love for my husband. I do gush about them on the days they are not annoying me. But today is all about puppy love. It's fur real and I'm smitten, no matter what the cost. I told you that Everyday Underwear wouldn't always be about the funny stuff. Some days, it's just about the sweet stuff and there's a side order of funny coming with the next post.

If you have one, tell me a story about your furry babies. I may be a humorous kinda gal, but I'm human-orous and like a good love story, even if it is of the four-legged kind. Maybe you have a frog you love. Or a lizard. That's okay too, although I wouldn't be able to imagine a very good snuggle story out of those creatures.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Power of Suggestion... by My Weak Mind

There may be some folks out there who believe I'm a very smart cookie. I hope those people read this post and take note that cookies are rarely smart. I think Fig Newtons might be smart, but I don't eat those very often. They seem like a cookie intelligent people might consume. However, this isn't about cookies, it's about noodles. By noodle, I mean your brain. This is your brain. This is your brain on Everyday Underwear.

I readily admit that I'm a complete idiot sometimes. Unlike other idiots, I am usually the first to admit I am a complete idiot and I normally admit it even when I am merely a partial idiot. I admit my stupid thought processes when I have them and people seem to appreciate that a lot.

The time I killed a moth and my daughter said, "Mom, why did you just kill that tortilla chip?" Yep, that went on Facebook. The time I thought there were little black and white bugs in my bed until upon closer inspection they turned out to be poppy and sesame seeds from my daughter eating an "everything" bagel in my bed that morning... yep, I put that up on a Facebook post immediately.

I love to laugh at myself. That poor tortilla chip and the "bug" seeds are powerful examples of how the brain can tell you one thing, you completely buy it, and it turns out to be false. You feel like an idiot. And for just that one tiny moment, sadly, you are. There. I said it. You are an idiot sometimes and I am too.

Sooooo, let's discuss the power of suggestion. I'm reading multiple books at the moment, but the one by my bed is called My Stroke of Insight. It's about a neuroanatomist brain scientist who suffers a stroke and lives to tell about it. I hadn't even cracked the book open yet when I had convinced myself that I had probably had a stroke. Why would I think this? Three irrational reasons:

  1. I'm having problems with my voice, specifically that at 42, I have developed a mild case of what I like to call "old lady voice."
  2. I heard a strange noise in my head recently that I've never heard before (I said noise, not voice).
  3. I choke on my own spit or a harmless drink of water for no reason, more often than previously.
I've had these problems over a span of probably 6 months. Just the other day, however, I finally decided to look in the mirror with a flashlight to see if something might be going on in my throat, like esophageal or vocal cord cancer. Is that a cancer? Well, if it is, I was convinced I probably have it.

The flashlight revealed... wait for it... inflamed tonsils. I think I have tonsillitis. I was relieved. Even though it could still be a growth of some kind posing as tonsils, I don't know. I don't recall ever having tonsillitis before, so I'm not sure what problems it can cause or what it really looks like. But trust me, I've looked at all the images on Google and that's probably what it is, even though mine doesn't look exactly like any photo I saw, so I can't be sure. FYI, I have a doctor appointment for next Tuesday to confirm my complete or partial idiocy.

In short, I'm having ENT problems. Ummm, that would explain numbers 1, 2, and yes, 3. I am not dying after all. Well, I am dying a little every second, lurching slowly through life toward my inevitable death, but aren't we all?

This irrational thought process made me think of the power of suggestion. Your brain can conjure up things that aren't there, aren't true, aren't reality -- before you ever grab a flashlight to see what the light reveals. Let me show you what I mean by sharing a few valid examples of frontal lobe idiocy:

The neighbor kid comes over after being diagnosed with head lice. Your head itches and you feel things crawling after the kid leaves, even though you don't actually have head lice. Admit it, I'm right, aren't I? Not only that, but some of you are scratching your head right now just from hearing me talk about head lice. See?
See any lice in there? Nope, me either.
 And whaddya know, the gray hair post picture came in handy again!

You run into a friend who has recently had the flu. Immediately afterward, your stomach feels queasy. You think it feels queasy. It isn't queasy. You are fine. You are healthy. You don't have the flu and you didn't get the flu from your friend, but for a short period of time, you think you must have the flu simply because you were exposed to the flu.

The preceding examples are called psychosomatic responses. Your mind thinks about the reality of these conditions and you physically react. I can't count the times I have had some symptom and I get on the Internet to research it, only to convince myself I have the worst case of whatever-it-is-itis there ever was. "I'm dying, I just know it. What am I going to do with my remaining time? I'm not done on this earth." The truth is that I am only dying in the sense that I am one day closer to my death every day that I'm alive. Period. End of story. Cindy Brown lives on as we speak. Whoop-ti-do.

Humor me and tell me if you've had a brain fart, a time when your mind conjured up the unreal. I'd love to hear that I have fellow idiots. I mean that in the nicest possible way. I love my idiots. You are the wind beneath my wings.