Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wife Swap - Where Would They Send Me?

My daughter recorded an episode of Wife Swap and I just watched a bit of it while eating my lunch. If you haven't seen the show, the premise is that they take two wives/mothers from very different households with opposing views and switch them for two weeks. So I got to thinking... hmmm, I wonder where they would send me?

First of all, they would send me somewhere very neat. The husband would expect a wife who was, how do you say? Duhmestick? Yeah, domestic, that's it. The other mother would be a neat freak who keeps her house spotless at all times, without fail. She would be terrified of the dust bunnies who currently nest in the inner sanctum I call home.

I currently do not bust my buns working out, other than walking my dogs, so they would definitely send me to a man who expects my body to be rockin' (not in a chair in front of Cracker Barrel either) and my diet to be pure. The poor receiving husband would likely be properly grossed out by my little muffin top and tell me all about it and how to get rid of it. He would make me do reps of this and that and run until I pass out, then expect me to make dinner. That brings me to the next point.

I don't cook, so they would probably pair me up with Betty Crocker's husband. Is he still alive? Was she ever married? Is Betty a real person? I don't know, but that's another post. Wanna know what I can cook? Here's what I can cook:

Java mama, Cindy Brown

Coffee. I can cook you a mean cup of coffee. That's what I can do. And something out of a box, like Hamburger Helper or spaghetti. And if you want something else for breakfast, then fine. I can open up a mean box of cereal for you as well.

I think they would also send me to the city where it is very noisy. I'm an insomniac, so that would be great [insert heavily sarcastic eye roll here]. I have this weird kind of insomnia where the sound switch in my brain doesn't shut off when I sleep like it does for normal people. It's some kind of sensory thing. Also, unless I'm really dead to the world, the slightest movement wakes me up. I woke up the other night because a tick was crawling on me. Really. It's that bad. Ticks weigh as much as air. How did I feel that?

They would send me to people opposed to both pets and nature, someplace drab and sterile, without artistic flair, where I would have a brick wall for a view. It would be really cold there, which I would despise.

There would be no Internet access (they'd be against it and all forms of technology). There would be no phone, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury. Sorry, I got carried away and slipped into the Gilligan's Island theme song there for a minute. 

This family I'd be placed with wouldn't fart or burp in front of each other and would be properly disgusted if I did. And who knows about me, I just might do that kind of thing. I believe stifling it will cause great pain (wouldn't want to find out what might happen if I didn't), but on the opposite side of that, I stifle each and every sneeze. I'm an enigma. Never know what I'm gonna do.

Oh, and the worst part about this family would probably be that they'd have no sense of humor at all. They'd be gulp -- quiet people. Nothing would make them laugh. It would be like pulling teeth. I'd hear crickets in response to each opening of my mouth. It would be like playing a game of Operation after taking out the Funny Bone. Not a good time, nooo... not good at all. I'm always very uncomfortable around people with no sense of humor. I think there's something wrong with them, genetically speaking. And if you're one of them, what are you doing on this blog right now? Furthermore, do not send me hateful e-mails about my bashing of the humor impaired. It won't be tolerated and I'll punish you by forcing you to watch Blazing Saddles on a repeated loop until you break down and cry like a baby.

In the end, the wives each get to spend fifty grand on the other family for something that would truly help them improve their family unit. I would buy them $50,000 worth of comedy DVDs and I'd come home to find my kids and husband working out in our new $50,000 gym and expecting me to cook something healthy for them afterward in the $50,000 kitchen.

Well, that decides it. I think I'll just stay home instead.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Duh, Winning! A Kreativ Blogger Award Story

Thank you, Becky Green Aaronson, for granting me with a wish. I wished I would receive an award for my blog eventually, and you and your blog genie made my wish come true! Everyday Underwear readers, if you haven't subscribed already, consider it a culture boost from me to you to share a link to her blog The Art of an Improbable Life.

In addition, I also give you the following acceptance speech:

Ahem! Hello, everyone. I'm Cindy Brown. It's my honor to stand up on this virtual stage tonight and receive this award. [Gushing] Why, I'm so unprepared! I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me! I'd like to thank my wonderful director and my dear friend and co-star, Tom Hanks. I'd like to thank my wonderful husband Neil, who is my biggest supporter, even though he's only read one of my posts, and my children for not giving a crap at all that I'm a writer, but I love them! I really love them! I'd like to thank all of you fans out there, in your underwear, reading my posts. And of course I'd like to thank God. Without you, words would not exist and therefore, neither would Everyday Underwear. And in the words of the great thespian Charlie Sheen... I'm, "Duh, winning!"

Okay, okay, that isn't really an acceptance speech. And I actually stole part of it from Sally Field's 1985 Academy Awards speech. Sorry, Sally. And sorry, Charlie. Wouldn't want to steal your thunder, but I have been awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award! I, Everyday Underwear, feel validated. This calls for a celebration of new underwear!

My favorites. My cozies! My Hanes Microfiber undies which literally were the inspiration for the name of this blog. It's definitely a metaphor for comfort, everyday things, and that yearning you have for your everyday underwear if, for some reason beyond your control (like you forgot to do laundry), you have to wear the thong one day. Trust me. That day, you long for your everyday underwear and you are reminded that you don't want to go very long without it.

That's the same feeling I hope people get about my blog. No, not that you have floss up your crack, but that it's something comfortable that you look forward to getting back to.

Okay, on to the tasks at hand. I have obligations now. I have to tell you seven interesting things about myself, as though I haven't already done that in my blog! Okay, so here goes:

  1. When I was in school, I played the flute very well and wanted to be a professional flautist (yes, that is really a word) and play a gold flute like James Galway.
  2. I used to be a dedicated "cat person" until my husband and children slowly forced me into dogdom. Now I am more of a dog person and I love my dogs so much that I breed them. However, my only tattoo is still that of a cat.
  3. I used to sell caskets to funeral homes for a living. This tidbit always gets a rise out of people.
  4. After miserably failing with my own choices in men and as a new Christian with a desperate desire to change my life, I prayed for God to bring me a Union or construction worker who was a good man and had two little girls for me to adopt... and He did exactly that. Not to sound like the movie Shrek, but helloooo, "I'm a Believer!"
  5. My favorite movies are either visually stunning or deep thinkers:
    1. Memento
    2. Point of No Return
    3. 300
    4. Amelie
    5. Shutter Island
    6. Anything with Johnny Depp or Antonio Banderas or Channing Tatum (think visually stunning actors).
  6. My teeth are naturally straight, my boobs are real, and I cut my own hair (and that will be the title of an upcoming blog post).
  7. I pee in the shower. See post  Do You, Would You, Could You Pee in the Shower?
Obligation number two is to nominate seven other blogs for the award. I do not know whether the blogs I am nominating have received the Kreativ Blogger Award, but if you have already received it and you are on my list, just know that I'm giving you props for your consistent quality or the potential I think your blog possesses and have a lovely day knowing you got a nod.

  1. Lisa Weinstein -  The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein
  2. Kendra Martin -  Creating Stepping Stones out of Life's Stumbling Blocks!
  3. Van Brown -  Van Brown's Journal
  4. Tom Ryan -  This Old Man Says
  5. Marcy (can't find your last name on your blog!) L -  (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish
  6. Norine Dworkin-McDaniel -  Don't Put Lizards in Your Ears
  7. Jillee (can't find your last name either!) -  One Good Thing by Jillee

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Fog (Could Have Killed Me)

Fog brings up so many memories for me. It can be pretty, pretty scary to drive in, and even mystical to gaze upon. This past week, I was lucky enough to encounter a kinder, gentler fog. Leave it to me to turn it into a story. It's air, for crying out loud. It's water. It’s vapor, mist, haze. It's purely precipitation, in its simplest form. Saying that out loud just made me slip into a daffy duck voice. Please note that I am totally okay with that. Go ahead, try it. Ith fun!

"Ith purely prethipitashun in ith thimpletht form." Now, wipe the spit off your screen and continue.

Mmm, back to the fog. I leave my house dang early in the morning to take the kids to the bus stop, normally an uneventful thing. The sun is barely up at 7 a.m.  It’s still wiping the crust from its eyes while I’ve been up doing laundry, showered and dressed, gotten my husband and kids going, and if I’m lucky, had time for a cup of joe. This particular day, I crested the top of the hill near the bus stop and let out an audible gasp at the scene before me.

The Ocean of Fog  ©  Cindy Brown 2012
“The fog! Oh, I need my camera! I have to go back and get my camera!”

Figures, the one day I didn’t have it in my purse, there is a spectacular display of nature awaiting me at the bus stop. In the valley below lay an errant cloud fallen from the sky. It reached as far as my eye could see, as vast as the ocean, rolling over the landscape and covering everything in its path with mystical beauty. I felt almost afraid, but excited at the same time. Would I drown if I descended into the ocean of white? Who knows what lurks in there? Wild animals? School buses? No, silly, you can't drown in fog... or can you? Muwah-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!
Luckily, the bus came quickly. I did not miss my date with the fog. It’s such a fickle lover, fog. There one minute, lifted and gone in the next instant, without so much as a goodbye. I had no idea if it would be there when I returned or if it would look or act the same, for fog changes quickly. It's a shapeshifter, and you have to catch it quickly before it disappears into thin air. Literally.

Foggy Road  ©  Cindy Brown - 2012
I stopped on my road no less than three times for photo ops, and then ventured on my way for the day. I could see plenty far ahead of me, so driving in it would not pose a problem. I had a long drive, so I was thankful it was not “the scary fog.” As a teenager, I once was sure I would be killed by a blind date who was speeding so fast in his car through the thick fog that I literally cowered in fear in the floorboard. I was skeered, as Oprah would say. And I'm practically fearless! Worst. Date. Ever.

This, in contrast, was the pretty fog, the enchanting fog. This, my friends, was the best fog I’d ever had the pleasure of being involved with.

Nevertheless, I had places to go and little time to be stopping every whip-stitch to take pictures. So, here’s the part that could have killed me. Flying at approximately 55 miles per hour down a two lane highway, I decided to photograph the fog through my window as I was driving. Never mind the fact that I was actually pulled over by a policeman once for AMWD (Applying Makeup While Driving – I actually made the cop laugh when I told him why I had swerved), I was taking my chances. It was too beautiful not to photograph the scene before me.

You’ll be happy to know that I kept both hands on the wheel (I’m covering my butt just in case there happens to be a law enforcement officer reading this post today) and I never took my eyes off the road (thank you, invention of the 3” LCD). Was it worth the risk of dying? I’m not sure, but I think it might have been. My little black box (gold box, in this case) would have told the story of my demise in pictures. What a way to go! I can see the headlines now, "Area Woman Killed by The Fog." It sounds like that old horror movie. But for real.

I don’t even know how to describe the picture that I’m about to show you. I did nothing to the settings. I didn't apply a filter. It was taken through the front windshield of a 2002 Ford F-150 Lariat, not clean of debris either, mind you. It was taken with my Canon PowerShot SX210 IS, not a professional camera. I don’t know where the sepia toned effect came from. I don’t know how the planets aligned. All I know is that the result is one of my favorite pictures of all time. I was very satisfied with my fog experience that day and I have pictures to prove it.

© 2012 - The Fog, by Cindy Brown

If you want to see the entire "The Fog" album, you may visit this public link to the album, but please remember to credit me for the photos if you share any of them:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Decisions, Decisions: Mr. Snake in the Road

We have to make decisions every day in life. Some are hard, some easy, some unexpected, some mind-numbingly mundane, but nonetheless, decisions are a part of daily life, like it or not. When you come to a fork in the road in life, you must make a tough decision. Which way do I go? If I choose the left, will it be "right?" If I choose right, will I be happy with my decision later on? Such quandaries can boggle the mind.

Sometimes, you just wing it and take a blind leap of faith and hope you made the right decision. Today was one of those days, when I ran into not a fork, but a snake in the road. No, I'm not making a clever allegory, I am talking about an actual snake in the road. I'll prove it. I took a picture.

And so, the story begins. It's gorgeous today here in central IL, and I was taking my three lovely dogs on a walk. I'm bouncing along, enjoying myself immensely, humming a little I-love-this-weather tune silently in my head, not a care in the world, "doh-ti-do-ti-doh" when suddenly, there it was.

Right. In. My. Path.

Apparently the snake thought the weather was nice for a slither as well. Decision time! Oh, so many options... I think I might need a bullet list!
  • Turn around and go back home
  • Step over the snake
  • Scare the snake out of the way
  • Go to the left of the snake
  • Go to the right of the snake
  • Scream and stomp on the snake, thus maiming or injuring the snake and possibly myself
I stopped dead in my tracks and said, "Hello there!" after my heart was positioned safely back in its ribcage. I'm not afraid of snakes, but it did give me a start. Jump-start my heart, Motley Snake! [Leave it to me to turn being startled by a snake into a Motley Crue song].

It was there, so I had to make a decision. Oh, and I was alone. The dogs were far ahead of me, already enjoying the creek. Slowly, I pulled the camera out of my pocket to take a picture. Like a good model, it didn't move an inch! Photo op out of the way, I put my mind back into gear. What next? After entertaining all of the above bulleted options, I chose to go to the right of the snake and continue my walk. That's when my mind went crazy with thought patterns and I knew it would be a blog post.

"Okay, I've made my decision, but now what if I step to the right (which is the way the snake's head is facing) and it sees me and decides to attack me? Does it even see me? Is this an attack snake? I don't think so. But how would I know? I'm no snake expert. I think it's harmless. It probably doesn't even have teeth. What would it do, gum me to death? Go on, wimp, do it. No fear. No fear of the snake!"

I did it. The snake didn't budge an inch. However, crazy thought patterns continued.

"What if it's one of those blue racers? Wait, it's not blue. Are they really blue or is that just what they're called? I don't remember! What if it chases me down and attacks me and climbs up my pantleg into my hair?"

At that moment, I had the actual visual representation of that scene in my head, me screaming and flailing down the road and hurling myself into the creek going, "Oh Lord, nooooo, it's killing me!" and I literally busted out laughing at myself. God, I love how my brain works. Anyway...

"So, I made it to the creek and now I have to go back home - right past the snake again. Where are my dang dogs? How did they not see this thing? Are they blind? I know it was being really still, but really? They didn't see it at all? What if I need protected? Useless. Wait, where's the snake? I don't remember exactly where I saw it. I don't see it anywhere! Did it move? Is it up ahead? Is it hiding just off the path, to the right or to the left? Did I startle it so much that it froze in fear (you know, the whole 'it's more scared than you are thing') and when I was out of sight, it slithered off to find a good spot to thrust itself at me, hissing wildly, on my way back through? Should I look for it or just walk on like a normal person and imagine I never saw the snake in the first place? I'm insane. This will be a good blog post."

I never saw the snake again, and in case PETA is reading this, I would never have actually stomped on the snake and no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post. It was just a panicked thought put into harmless words. The end.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Do You, Would You, Could You Pee in the Shower?

There Are Two Kinds of People...
Those Who Pee in the Shower and Those Who Would Never!

Let me start by stating that I am a grown woman. I am not an unruly man nor am I a rebellious teenager. I am edu-ma-cated with “some college.” I wear name brand clothes. I live in a nice house with a marble fireplace. I live the quintessential American Dream, playing the role of wife to a fantastic husband and mother to two beautiful children. I also pee in the shower.
Quite frankly, I feel that it's a complete and utter waste of natural resources if you don't pee in the shower. I haven't done the math, but I suspect I may have actually saved as much as an entire tree branch with this practice. And the savings have surely added to our household pocketbook. Toilet paper costs money, people! You know the saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned!” Do four sheets of toilet paper equal a penny? I think so! Probably. And think of the water savings as well. Why, I'm saving the planet one less flush at a time.
How do you know if you qualify to be a full-fledged shower urinator candidate? Let's take a look at this logically and with a few easy qualifiers in mind:
1)   Early morning bladder control is a must. It takes at least a few minutes to turn on the light, get the hot water going, and disrobe before you can release the floodgates. Not everyone is capable of maintaining their morning pee composure for this length of time. There are standards. If you are a person who wakes up and barely makes it to the toilet before peeing right down your very leg, then you are probably not a candidate for peeing in the shower. However, if you can hold it for at least three minutes pre-shower time, you are a candidate.
2)   You can't be grossed out by pee touching your body momentarily before it's swept down the shower drain. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't want somebody else's pee getting on me. Ewww, gross! However, I have been both a nurse's aide in the developmentally disabled wing of a nursing home and a mother, so I have been peed upon, and plenty. It helps if you possess at least the slightest smidgen of tomboy or farm girl in your DNA, and you must be able to hock a loogie at least five feet without getting any on you. If you do not know how to hock a loogie or you do not know what “hock” or “loogie” refer to, then you, my friend, are not in fact a candidate. However, if you knew exactly what the preceding phrase meant and you made mud pies as a child and you've peed on the side of the road with nothing to wipe with even once in your lifetime, you are a solid candidate.
3)   If you have ever sat a little cockeyed on a public toilet because you didn't want the cooties you thought might be lurking there and you therefore tried to balance on one square inch of one thigh and your pee therefore accidentally took a detour down your leg before cascading like a waterfall off the edge of the rim into its intended destination of white ceramic bowl, you might just be a redneck. Oops, I meant to say, you might just be a candidate for peeing in the shower.
4)   If you can reasonably deduct that you are washing away filth and cleansing yourself thoroughly after peeing in your shower (which you should be - helloooo), so who cares if you pee in the shower anyway because the whole point of the shower in the first place is to clean up yo-self, you are definitely a candidate.
Now, what makes you a “Would Never!” is an easier list:
1)   You put three layers of toilet paper neatly on any public toilet seat and sit perfectly perched like a cadet at attention each and every time you sit on the throne. You are not a candidate for peeing in the shower.
2)   You wash your hands more than ten times a day. You are not a candidate for peeing in the shower.
3)   You iron your sheets and obsess over your home like Bree Van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives. You are not a candidate for peeing in the shower.
4)   You call your mother more than once a day, every day. You are not a candidate for peeing in the shower. You are too much of a mama's little baby and are not independent enough with your own thought patterns to even think about peeing in the shower. Shame on you! P.S. If you read this and your first inclination is to call your mother to complain about number 4, and you are offended that I called you a mama's little baby, don't be - hang up the phone. It's a humor blog. Brush it off an have a laugh at yourself. It's a joke. Do not fill my comment box with hate-ments. I just made up that word, "hate-ments" - hee hee!
5)   If you're right now screaming, “Too much information! TMI! TMI!” you should have stopped reading when you read the title and you will probably need a stiff drink to settle down after reading this very upsetting blog posting. Have a lovely evening, dear, and enjoy your Grey Goose vodka martini, Bree. You are not a candidate for peeing in the shower.
I, however, will continue to save the planet, four sheets of toilet paper per day, one less flush than you, deducted from our household's daily usage. I'll do it my way. Doesn't bother me! Besides, who will ever know?

Note: If you would like to read the winning essay or other entries to the 2KOP contest or just check out the site, please visit