Live at Five

My favorite day of all time will always be January 17, 2013. The two most important humans to me graced this planet with their presence. While I was the last of my immediate family to find out about the twins (I’m totally over it, as you can tell), I won’t ever forget the moment on a Thursday late afternoon when Sister CBXB called and told me to pull over and stop driving.

I was going to be an aunt. Two times over.

It’s a good fucking thing that I was in my car because the decibel my already extremely not quiet voice reached piercing heights (my whisper is your regular “inside” voice) It would most definitely have caused anyone around me immediate deafness.

I was so fucking happy, thrilled, excited, for myself (oh, and Sister CBXB and Bro-in-Law of course) discovering that I would forever get to spoil a little boy and a little girl. I loved them before ever laying eyes on them.

Then I laid eyes on them.

My heart basically exploded and in the very best way possible, I knew that life was never, ever going to be the same. They immediately became my number ones (my sister is my number two because she got married and had the kids, taking all pressure off of me – yay – and now I can adopt all of the cats in the world).

Honoring the liveliest duo I know, here’s…

Cheers to Five Years

It seemed like yesterday you arrived

How can you be turning five?

Birthdays

One

Two

Three

Four

Were big fun galore

Princess B, you have a flair for sparkles like me

My sweet knight in shining armour you are, Prince B

Getting a pic with the two of you has never been easy

You’ve never not enjoyed giving my face graffiti

There’s so much I’ve loved watching you do

Yet so much more is in store for you two!

You’ve got me in your corner whenever you need

Anyone hurts you

The deal with me

The loves of my life, it’s simple but true

Most of all, I love you just for being you.

Aunt Juju sends kisses. The fur babies send hugs.

All of us send five years of big love!

Celebrate BIG my favorite two!

Love,
Aunt Juju and the rest of the world

Family Traditions of Christmas Past

How different would Christmas be if I wasn’t surrounded by family?

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Opening packages would be such a bore,

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If I wasn’t encircled by cousins galore.

Christmas chaos.

A lonely gal Christmas sock affair,

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Instead of hanging stockings by the chimney with double the care.

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All dressed up with nowhere to go,

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Instead of trying to be one of the stars of the show.

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Christmas pageants with one can be so annoying,

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But with two, the show is much more enjoying.

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Lonely lonely would Christmas celebrating be,

Without the decades of fun with family.

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From past to present with futures near,

Hold those who are dear with your heart full of cheer because you never know when they may not be here…

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Cheers to keeping the memories, traditions and spirits of Christmases past alive and kickin’.

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Gizzards, Griswolds and Gaming

Over the river and through the woods to the mini manse they came…

So, I haven’t ever cooked a turkey (or mowed a lawn, washed dishes without rubber gloves, changed a dirty diaper… because you know, my nails are jewels, not tools) but my friend Rasta decided to bake a bird for the Thanksgiving holiday, as she wasn’t traveling back to New York. I had family from Iowa coming into Nashville, she was kind enough to invite us over and it was a Griswolds meets the Iowa Hillbillies meets City Chic. In other words, the best kind of holiday mash-up.

I’ll let you guess which is which.

I went to help prep the evening before and basically sat on my ample derriere washing the evening away with wine, BUT I did help with snapping green beans, K?

Being a sous chef is hard work.

Upon my return to the mini manse, I called Mama CBXB no less than 31 times in 25 minutes because I was attempting my first casserole with a whopping six ingredients.

What’s a ¼ lb. of cheese?

Do you drain the corn or leave the juice in it?

What’s a ¼ lb. of butter look like?

And voila!

Corn and noodle casserole was a hit.

OK, I may have eaten half of it but still, a success.

Rasta baked her tail off, as I supplied a cases of much-needed vino.

My contributions.

Rasta stirring up a storm in her kitchen.

Upon completion of the bird baking, no one in the place had ever before carved a turkey.

How many peeps does it take to carve a turkey?

The bird got divvied, the casserole was a hit and Precious the chug may have had the tryptophan kick in earlier than the rest of us.

Tired turkey.

Friday, after shaking off our turkey comas, we headed down to Bailey’s Irish Pub to join another 125 Hawkeye fans to cheer on our fave team for the last game of the year.

Hey-oh! Hawkeye time!

The outcome of the game looked rather bleak at halftime with the score being tied at 14-14 (and as the Hawks basically rolled over and died their last two games, it was anyone’s guess as to who would win). But, in the third and fourth quarters, Iowa scored an unanswered 42 points, leaving us with a winning 56-14 score.

Somewhere between shots one and four…

… and somewhere between shots five and eight.

Of course each and every time the Hawks scored, I had to Facetime Dada CBXB who was up in Iowa visiting the twins.

I can’t hear you but drink!

What do you do after a victorious beat down? Celebrate, naturally. We headed to Robert’s Western World for some of the best old school honky tonkin’ around.

Showing G’Lee a fun old-fashioned country time.

Enjoying the holiday leftovers in Iowa, my BIL was showing off his doughing skills, making turkey and gravy pizza.

Dough master.

No one was upset about the use of leftovers.

Of course, the second the clock struck 12:01 am the day after Thanksgiving, the twins were ready for Christmas. And the decorating commenced.

Tree trimming.

Old school advent calendar.

While the mini manse residents are still recuperating from the shenanigans – surely, it’s just a turkey hangover.

Snuggle train still ongoing.

A day of Hallmark holiday movies and moving from one side of the couch to the other worked wonders for us.

Working our wind down with wine. Duh.

Here’s hoping your well on your way out of a gravy coma.

CBXB

The Man, The Myth, The Birthday Legend

Oh dads.

If you are lucky enough to have one or have had one in your life, then you win. A familiar fixture on this blog and in my life, my dad celebrates his day of birth (along with his twin!) today. Aunt Crazy Pants once doled out advice that I didn’t think much of at the time when I was younger. She said (during some stupid crazy boy drama, no doubt) “No man will ever love you the way your dad loves you.”

This didn’t really dawn on me until I was an “adult” (a term I use for myself extremely loosely these days) and a dude I was living with said to me, “I can’t treat you like your dad treats you.”

BOY BYE.

I guess I never had to think about it because of the jackpot I scored when my dad chose to be mine. A knight in shining (well, in his case probably rusty) armour. A frugal on the allowance guy whose driving abilities were always affected by how loudly the radio was playing in unknown territory (TURN DOWN Q.102 GIRLS WE’RE IN DES MOINES!). A dad who commuted four hours daily to work but rarely missed an extra curricular activity. A dude who could scare boyfriends shitless with his size but is actually a giant, goofy Teddy Bear.

A father who not only duct taped my glasses together in the third grade (hence the short-lived nickname “Ducky”) but also uses the same magic to keep my bumper adhered to your car as an “adult”.

A dad who tells you to “tough it up” when you’re sitting in the superintendent’s office, holding a bloody chin after being hit in the face with a baseball bat during PE but remains strong and silent decades later when he’s driving you to the hospital after being raped.

So yeah, Aunt Crazy Pants and her advice rings true – best of luck to a dude ever living up to The Man, The Myth, My Legend.

As we celebrate the Big Fella today, please join me as I share some of the valuable…

LESSONS FROM MY LEGEND


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You should always have your family’s back…

bl

       … even if they often attack.

Throw your hands up in the air…

wave

…and wave them like I just don’t care.

Even if you’re a dork inside…

...without my shades.

                                              

…it’s no matter if you’re cool on the outside.

The art of muscle blowing is unique.

blow

                       Passed down to generations…

and

                                              … and generations …

still

…to upkeep.

Pink isn’t just for girls…

flex

…guys often put the color on for a whirl.

Sequins should be in my everyday attire…

love

     … as you gave me the first bedazzled top I ever acquired.

It’s OK to stand out in a crowd…

Dada C-Note

…just be sure to do it loud and proud.

Giving is better than receiving…

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…except when you let your three year old open your gift to be appeasing. 

The importance of slathering on sunscreen daily…

very

                      …just be sure to not get too crazy.

The significance of jazz hands…

was

…often help when making demands.

It’s not a road trip…

check

…unless you have rot gut vodka and your finger to mix.

Reminding me there’s more than one fish in the sea…

fish

                …especially whenever a boy has been mean to me.

Being the life of the party…

never

                                          …is like leading one big…

                                                            …fun army.

The duo that shoots shots together…

Wild Turkey

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Stays together.

…stays together.

It’s important to share…

at the

                 …even while pigging out at the Iowa State Fair.

It’s OK to relax…

after

…after a day has been crap.

You’ve carried me through physical hard times…

broken foot

         

broken ankle

…even if sometimes it was from too much self-inflicted wine.

Tipping my Skinny Pirates when my nails are drying…

treat

                         

…because you know there’s a silver lining.

Most importantly, not all heroes wear capes…

Not all

…just dads who pick us up no matter our proverbial scrapes. 

So let us all raise our glasses today…

cheers!

…and cheers your birthday away!

Those are just a few of my lessons from…

happy

 The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

Happy Birthday Dada!

CBXB

CBXB!

One More Time, Mom

My beloved Aunt Crazy Pants passed away after a valiant fight against terminal lung cancer (after never smoking a goddamn cigarette in her life). By the time cancer was found through an unrelated surgery, it had already spread everywhere but her brain and she was given six months to a year to live last summer. Well, being a feisty little bitch, she survived with cancer 370 days.

Beat cancer for five extra days. Suck it.

Family and friends gathered to give life stealing cancer the middle finger, celebrating ACP with her favorite cocktails of Gin Rickeys, Black Velvet and margaritas.

Gin Rickeys all around.

Sharing stories of peeing our pants over shit she would say or do (when she literally shit her pants – like during a shopping trip at Target with her mom once. I just got an eye roll (sorry Gma) and a belly laugh (you’re welcome ACP) from the sky), witnessing tears running down her leg from laughing so hard and generally remembering the spirit this woman, mother, daughter, sister, crazy fun aunt and loyal friend to countless people sprinkled throughout our lives.

To say there’s a hole in my soul doesn’t do it justice, as my aunt was like a mother to me and I take after her in many lovely ways.

What I do know is:

I will carry on her klutziness (I fell into her closet after getting out of her bed the day after the funeral).

We also ruin phones the same. She dropped hers in a toilet, I run my over with cars. It’s a special talent.

I carry her ability to get tongue tied at any given moment (I asked a male co-worker at a new job if “these are the size of rubbers you wanted” – I forgot the word band after rubber).

Did I seriously say that?!

I have the ease of her unabashed bluntness and no fear of confrontation (she deemed me the biggest bitch of the family before she passed. I know, so sweet).

Wanna hear it or not, we tell it like it is.

I will honor her by eating double what I normally do during trips to the Iowa State Fair.

Two for me.

Being a crazy aunt is something I’m already all over.

Or rather, they’re all over me.

I was born with her dramatic flair for life, so that torch was lit long ago within me.

Jazz hands for life.

While it’s important to remember that when someone may no longer be among us on earth, our relationship with them can still exist, it’s also important to remember the quality of life given during an especially grueling battle with cancer. ACP’s youngest son R. Nasty made sacrifices I can’t say many young adults his age – let alone any adult – would do to care for his dying mother. I mean before being diagnosed with cancer, she was already the most dramatic woman on the planet (like bitching about “having” to pack to go to Hawaii – or any other fabulous destination…yeah, poor thing), so you can imagine the sheer joy the magnification of her theatrics became.

Flair for fun dramatics.

R. Nasty moved in with his mom (all young men’s dream come true) being closest in proximity and able to make accommodations to do so, while his other brothers and extended family lived further away.

All other Bros and Hos live far away.

He answered every time she hollered with a patient, “yes Mother,” sauntered into her room after every bell ring (a sound that will surely haunt him for the rest of his days), removed an ice cube each time he accidentally put four instead of three into her water and endless other duties that come along with caring for a cancer patient.

The true meaning of ‘got your back’.

My point is, this dude is a fucking saint. Throughout all the treatment routines, doctor’s appointments, therapy, surgeries, etc, ACP’s absolute favorite time was watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with R. Nasty every weeknight. Even if she dozed off in the evening as she got more cancer riddled, she wanted to be woken up to watch Stephen Colbert with her son.

Wake me up before you go go!

In the evening on August 31, 2017 my feisty aunt was taken from home hospice to the hospital. That night, as the end was drawing near, the room full of family was clearing out and R. Nasty leaned in and said, “We’re going to watch Stephen Colbert one more time, Mom.” And that they did. She died at 3am on Friday, September 1st, 2017.

While we’ve partied in every way possible in honor of Aunt Crazy Pants’ love of life, I’d like to acknowledge the sacrifices her son made so selflessly. When asked about it he always says (and still does), “it’s my honor to take care of my mother.”

                 

I hope my cats step up to the plate like that for me when the time comes.

Yeah…I’m fucked.

Cheers to the craziest fun aunt I got to call mine. We all miss you something terrible.

Life already isn’t the same.

I love you.

CBXB

 

My Gma the Great

I’ve never been one to take my family or time with them for granted, so it was real bummer when my Gma passed away two years ago. Not only was she one of my best buddies, I know I inherited her brutal honesty, ornery streak and love of having my fingernails polished.

To celebrate what would have been her 94 birthday today, an ode to my Gma the great!

Gma

Always one to laugh at surprises…

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…you took to my photobombing like it was one of your most treasured prizes.

Photo Bomb!

You never let anyone forget…

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…when it was time to celebrate you bigger than the national debt.

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I learned from the best…

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…how to celebrate my life full of zest.

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Now seriously Gma, you taught me to party harder than Mae West.

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A love of leopard you instilled….

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…which is now being passed down to the next generation, who’s thrilled.

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It’s so fun you two met at a skating rink…

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…even if after 44 years you still had to steal kisses quicker than an eye blink.

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Although I took after Gpa avoiding kisses, rather craving a hard drink…

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…you always insisted on showing your love, making sure everyone was in sync.

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Beauty sleep and a hairnet was apparently all that you needed…

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…but truly it was your hair ‘dos that always succeeded.

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So it was with glasses and confidence that I superseded…

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…the grace and confidence that you always heeded.

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I wish I would have felt more impeded.

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The Iowa State Fair you never did love,

probably because you couldn’t wear foot gloves.

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It will never be the same, not bringing you a corn dog…

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…and discussing how I ate my way through the fair like a prize-winning hog.

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Circled blacked out dates always meant you had a companion…

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…you always loved attention bigger than the Grand Canyon.

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Attending every homemade Christmas pageant we made…

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…and most likely secretly prayed…

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…that I would never end up a lonely old maid.

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The first to pass of five sisters, who lived out their misters,

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…you loved being pampered more than a fever blister.

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Your nails were painted the day before you passed…

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…and Jell-O shots without you will seem so miscast.

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Regardless of view near or afar, life will never be the same…

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…without you as my shining rock star.

Love and miss you Gma.

CBXB!

Griswold Family Style Fourth of July

Driving a boat at Lake of the Ozarks…

Party Chick

…is a party girl from Tennessee.

Party Girl

As cousins gather every Fourth…

Cousins

…to be with family

The Griswolds

From Jell-O shots…

Jell-O

…with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

Constant fights over the mic…

Mic Fight

to sing karaoke.

Karoake King

Trivial Pursuit winners, always reign supreme!

Winners!

From new tattoos…

Tattoo

…to pool dunks…

Dunk

…with drunken dancers around a hunk.

Hunk

Our favorite toy is the aqua bar…

Aqua Bar

…that prevents us from floating too far.

Floater

 I’m proud to be from my family!

Family

Where at least I can be me.

Beerpoo

And they never, ever let me forget

Just how handy my booty can be.

Handy

Cousins blowing their muscles up…

Blow Hards

…next to me

Muscles

so I won’t cry and feel left out.

Cry Baby

There ain’t no doubt I love my clan –

Clan

Thank God for my family!

Fam

Here’s hoping your version of the Griswolds has a safe and booze filled 4th.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!