The Underdog

It’s no secret that I’ve had a rough go in my personal life the last few years. Of course, no one has perfection and bad shit happens to everyone, however, I’ve been numbed to the point that I don’t expect the worst but am surprised by nothing. Nothing.

Martians falling from the sky? We believe you.

It’s also no secret that I love college football – especially my alma mater, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Fans #1 and #2.

The last day that I can truly say I was ‘in the moment’ was December 5, 2015. I got to experience the first Big Ten Championship with my dad, The Silent Indian (who cheered for the wrong team) and Camo with my Iowa Hawkeyes taking on Sparty of Michigan State.

Big four at the Big Ten game.

It was one of the best days of my life even though Sparty won in the literal last second of the game.

All the after morning feels.

Four days upon returning home from that game, I was pushed out of a career that I’d worked my ass off to obtain in the music business. Eleven days after that, I experienced the worst Christmas of my life – a day I cherish (almost as much as my birthday) due to family dynamics shifting and my unwillingness to accept it. Less than one month later, a woman who was like a little sister to me died in a car accident. That evening, I went to my best friend’s house and was raped by her boyfriend.

That period of time was as beautiful as I look in this photo.

The day I was at the hospital awaiting my rape kit to be performed, I was asked if I’d like an advocate to come sit with me. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t because as my bare ass was hanging out of the back of a hospital gown, I was in a state of shock. An advocate was called on my behalf. Aside from her beyond sweet demeanor, her name being Barbie (I mean, c’mon!), her fabulous Louis Vuitton purse (obvies the right advocate for me), she said something that still rings true to this day.

“There will be a before rape in your life. And there will be an after rape.” A before and after. Seems like a simple enough concept but I did not comprehend then how fucking true this would be in my daily life moving forward.

The Before: last selfie I took before Rapegate.

The After: first selfie taken after Rapegate.

It’s now been 616 days since the saga of Rapegate began. At first it was all-consuming, eating me up – a worm in my brain, invading every moment of my sleep, thoughts, feelings – I had no idea that I might as well have been standing at the bottom of Mount Everest, readying to climb 29,029 feet with zero conditioning. Because that’s what this last year and over a half has dealt…an excruciatingly slow climb out of (or rather up) the lowest of extreme lows, seeking the summit of a mountain top that appeared further and further away by the day.

What happens when I hike.

Thing is, life goes on all around even though time stands still for victims of any sort of trauma. For me, I was stuck on January 29, 2016 but I still had a job to find, bills to pay, fur ball mouths to feed and personal hygiene to maintain (this took much insisting from Mrs. America and my sister). I just wanted to wallow on my leopard couch and have it swallow me whole but of course that didn’t fucking happen.

Not so fresh and so clean clean.

With the support and love from my family, friends, and readers of this blog (my sparkly army), I was encouraged to put one (semi-clean) foot in front of the other and got into counseling. I tirelessly acted as my own advocate with a less than helpful (and that description is extremely nice) detective, found a job, kept my lights on, was diagnosed with PTSD, adjustment disorder and severe stress and stumbled forward.

I don’t wanna but I’m gonna!

Through what felt like a continuous avalanche in my life, I put on the happiest face possible and plowed forward. Although, everything had less meaning, was less fun, was just not right. I went to my fave watering hole Dalts, invited girlfriends over, tried to read books but couldn’t remember the page I just read, watched TV only to forget what the episode was about as my mind couldn’t stay focused, stopped going to yoga and jogging due to not being able to be alone with my thoughts – because the aftermath of Rapegate was never far.

SAY WHAT?

Trying to trudge through life, every step felt like I was moving through snow waist deep. Yet again, life stops for no one. Aunt Crazy Pants was diagnosed with terminal cancer almost six months to the day after I was raped. She passed just a little over a month ago, ten days after I suddenly lost the fur ball love of my life, Ted. The searing losses felt like a hot iron had been stabbed into my chest. I’d never experienced the throes of despair (navigating my way out of Rapegate), alongside devastating, life altering grief (losing those we deeply love) at the same time.

There’s not enough wine for this.

While I was home for ACP’s celebration of life, I had an opportunity to go tailgating with my Uncle Toddy, Aunt Crispie, my cousins and their many friends at the in state rivalry of Iowa versus Iowa State. It was a thrillingly unexpected day jam-packed with tailgating shenanigans.

The fun of family…

Mama CBXB, Uncle Toddy and Aunt Crispie host tailgating done right.

Friendly family rivalry.

OR WAS IT?!

The fun of the endless booze all around…

I hate tailgating.

The classiness of passing time while waiting to use the port-a-potties…

Shotski for three please.

The catching up with old friends…

Game ready.

Having to ask your uncle if there’s anyone he’s friends with in his season ticket section just in case I embarrass him with my loudness…

A beauty and a sparkly beast.

Embarrassing my youngest cousin with all the right moves…

Cousin love is acceptable below the Mason Dixon line.

Seeing a live marching band was fulfilled for the season…

March on.

Up close and personal for the live action overtime win didn’t suck!

End zone win baby!

Afterward, I realized how much fucking fun I truly had that day. I lived in the moment for the first time in almost two years – at yet another football game. I didn’t think about anything other than what I was partaking in every. single. second. The bands marching through the tailgates. The booze. The Hawkeye buses arriving. The booze. The food. The booze. The rivalry. The family and friends I was enjoying the fuck out of spending time with. The game I got to watch from the end zone and the exciting win by the Hawks in overtime.

Some cousins took it well.

Others were sore losers.

Point is, for a brief day I got a taste of what it will be like when I transfer from survivor to thriver. I felt normal. I felt the fun I was experiencing. I felt like pre-rape me for once in almost two years. And it was fucking fantastic, freeing and I caught a glimpse of my old self starting to shine through the cracks I still carry.

Fist forward.

The Hawkeyes are almost always considered the underdogs. And it’s not lost on me that both the last and first time I realized I was living in the moment were at football games, watching my favorite team with some of my favorite people.

It was a much needed reminder that I’m doing the best that I can every goddamn day. Aren’t we all?

Happy tailgating!

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!

 

Dumb and Crazy Dumber

Folks often tell me that I act like my aunt Crazy Pants (I mean obvies, look at the jazz hands!).

The past few years for both of us have been nothing but a shit show (to put it mildly0 and she has been dealt yet another large blow in the last few days. Due to the fact that she’s spunky, with a ‘fuck this shit’ attitude (yeah, we’re waaaaay similar), reality is what it is and we’ll deal.

We could be known as Thelma and Louise (but we’re not as cool and fabulous – we wouldn’t drive off a cliff on purpose, we’d do it because we were lost and missed a turn) although we more often times resemble Lucy and Ethel (on our best days) but in reality we can most identify with Dumb and Dumber.

Crazy!

Crazy times two.

Of all of the things we have in common, we share a love of Jell-O shots which are a staple at every family gathering (classy, I know) and party I throw.

Jello Love

Jell-O shots = Love

I mean we really love the spiked gelatin.

oving Jell-O maybe a little too much.

Like really, really, really love.

Down the hatch. How many?

Especially with whipped cream.

Our consumption of Jell-O shots makes us both more limber (until we wake up the next morning and can’t move).

Jell-O makes us limber

Who doesn’t do a leg lift after a bit of J-E-L-L-O?

Hey-o! Almost to the toes!

Hey-o! Jell-O makes me stretch almost to my toes!

However, I do not ever try to do tricks with my shots of liquor. There’s too much risk that it won’t make it to my mouth, which in my mind would be a travesty.

She can shoot Jell-O with no hands!

She can shoot Jell-O with no hands!

Or can she?

But really, she can’t.

Can't. Stop. Laughing. At. Her. Or, I mean with. WITH HER.

Can’t. stop. laughing. at. Aunt Crazy Pants. Errr, I mean with. Laughing WITH HER.

Upon making sure that whipped cream was ground into my carpet (thus I will not be getting my deposit back), Aunt Crazy Pants decided to go on a path of destruction in my mini manse by taking her tipsy ass into my beloved dressing room.

Fave room in my mini manse...

What CBXB does with extra bedrooms.

This wing of my mini manse is home to my two shoe towers (and no, I still don’t have too many shoes Dad and yes folks, I do wear all of them).

Tower of Shoes

Wall of bliss.

Admiring my collection

Even Ted admires my collection daily.

All was well in my closet kingdom until this tiny bull walked into my sparkly china shop and decided to trip into one of my towers that was bolted to the wall. The shelving quickly turned into a leaning tower of shoes, as it had about six inches in between the wall and the back of the racks.

Bag of Crazy

Apparently, the whipped cream on her glasses obstructed her view.

We then had to call in Camo during our girls night in to put a temporary band aid on the problem so we wouldn’t be making any trips to the emergency room with stories of shoe boxes falling onto our heads.

Closet hero

Closet hero.

Saving the Closet

I’m a big help, I know.

Crazy Pants can kiss my ass.

Think HGTV will come calling due to my mad holding skills?

When Camo was rewarded with a beer, Aunt Crazy Pants tried to show her gratitude by mauling him.

Mauling. Part 1.

Manhandling, Part 1.

Mauling Part 2.

Manhandling Part 2.

Make it stop. No seriously, make it stop.

Make the manhandling stop. No seriously, make it stop. Somebody muzzle her.

L-Dawg came in to save the day (and Camo’s dignity) by wrangling Crazy Pants with a dish towel.

L-Dawg wrangled Crazy Pants

Making sure no more Jell-O shots spill and Aunt CP stays in her seat.

For the next eight minutes, all was good in my mini manse hood until this happened….

Down the hatch.

Down the Crazy Pant hatch.

There was no turning back once she was out of Jell-O shots, so we put a boa on her and made her dance (and we have videos to prove it).

After the finishing shots, there was no wrangling her. So we put a boa on and made her dance.

Dumb and Dumber at our dancing finest.

I’m happy to report that the mini manse is still standing. But I’m certain that’s due to the fact that Aunt Crazy Pants went home.

Although now that’s she’s home, we need good juju, fabulous magic, positive vibes, abundant karma – and for anyone who lives close enough, margaritas delivered to her house.

Cheers to Aunt Crazy Pants!

You are so loved.

CBXB

CBXB!

Red, Wine and Booze

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

CBXB

CBXB!

The Snuggler

Winter weather got you feeling tired and blue with no one but an orange pussy to nuzzle up to?

Image 1

Yep. Been a crazy cat lady since birth.

Yes, that old photo pisses The Bear off.

And yes, that old photo pisses The Bear off.

Between pouring hot water on frozen car doors and shivering my ass off in the current (and unusual) frigid Tennessee weather while scraping ice off of my windshield with a spatula (yeah, this Iowa chick has lost her winter luster) I do the only thing I know how to keep warm.

Drink liquor. Hot liquor.

Hot Toddy

Four Two hot toddies per day keeps the cold air at bay, right?

I’m sure you’re all shocked that I have other methods than just my thermostat to ward off the chilly temps. My stay warm cocktail basically gussies up bland hot chocolate (I know, I know, I’m a genius).

Allow me to introduce you to ….

The Snuggler

Here’s what you’ll need for this belly heating treat:

tasty trio

A boozy electric blanket for your body.

Start by pouring a hearty amount of Kahlua into a handsome mug.

blah

Follow with a heavy-handed glug (I seriously wait for the liquid to make a gulping sound as it escapes the bottle) of peppermint schnapps.

peppermint

Mix a package of hot chocolate (I use a diet version, so as not to feel guilty about the generous amount of liquor included in my concoction – and therefore call it The Skinny Snuggler) with the libations and top with boiling water.  The true recipe calls for one part Kahlua, one part Peppermint Schnapps and two parts hot chocolate but now that’s not any fun, is it?

Hot water

Upon completion, you will have to fight off those around you who want a sip (or lick) of their own.

Paws off!

So you’ll need to make a batch big enough for sharing – because sharing is caring, isn’t it?

Mix. Drink. Share.

Repeat.

Mix. Drink. Share.

Repeat.

This method will lead to some serious snuggling.

Let the mauling begin!

Let the mauling begin.

And ends up being quite a fun cold weather remedy.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

The Wapatoolie

You know the old saying ,”the family that Wapatoolies together, stays together?”

Oh you’re not familiar? Allow me to explain…

Our first Wapatoolie.

My dad and me sharing our first Wapatoolie. How sweet.

Every summer, my family tends to meet up at the Lake of the Ozarks and act like misfits from the Griswold family.

Heathens at their finest.

Heathens at their finest.

It was at the Ozarks where yet another one of our classy family traditions (which also include Jell-O and moonshine shots) was born.  Allow me to introduce you to…

The Wapatoolie

Yum

Looking just as refreshing as lake water, I know.

According to family legend (which was told by my dad, who is known for streeeeeeeeetching out a story or two), the Wapatoolie was first introduced to him and his twin (yes, there is a replica of my father….a story for another day) while at a college party with the Wisconsin football team.

Blow Hard 1 and Blow Hard 2

Blow Hard 1 and Blow Hard 2 sharing the same farmer’s tan.

As the story goes, a party was unfolding where the two twins above were innocent bystanders.  With zero prodding, my dad boasted that he bravely took a shot of a Wapatoolie (ingredients consist of whatever the hell is in your bar at the time). Hand to Jesus, I swear I could see his chest puffing up with each oooh and ahhh he received from the Band of Griswold Misfits.

The story ended with a quote only a college football legend (again, a story for another day) could utter….”The Badgers started it but it took a Hawkeye to refine it.”

No shit.

Recipe for tastiness.

Definitely not from a college kid’s bar but a recipe for tastiness nonetheless.

Before the last syllable of the tall tale could be sputtered, us cousins were extremely busy at work mixing a Wapatoolie for the bullshitter storyteller.

Mix masters.

Mix Masters.

Down the hatch.

Tequila, bourbon, whiskey, white and spiced rum, margarita mix, vodka and gin topped with a dash of creamy Bailey’s…

Mmmmm

Feels so good when it hits the lips.

The following evening, my cousins (all of whom are male on this side of the family, which probably just explained everything you needed to know) decided if their stud of an uncle could stomach a Wapatoolie, they could too.

The Village of Idiots and their leader.

The Village of Idiots and their leader.

The rest of us gleefully skipped to the bar to concoct the next round of poison potion.

Back to the mixing board.

Back to the mixing board.

Tough Guys...

Tough guys in the beginning…

Not so tough

….not so tough the first round…

or second round...first you don't succeed? Try, try again. Shoot, shoot again.

…or round two the following year…

And just like that, from one year to the next, the timeless, trashy tradition of the Wapatoolie was born.

Now, we extend the pleasure of this shot to anyone who dares to hang with our family…

Just get engaged to one of my male cousins?  A Wapatoolie for you!

First time to party with us at the Lake of the Ozarks?  A Wapatoolie for you!

Want to date my sister?  A Wapatoolie for you!

Think you can hang with us during football season?  A Wapatoolie for you!

Oh and for those of you who don’t drink liquor of any kind, we can mix a non-alcoholic version for you. Don’t worry.

Think you can hang with me and my dad?

So you wanna hang with us? You sure?

C'mon over to my bar and let me mix you a little something...

C’mon over to my bar and let me mix you a little something…

Yum

Your personal rite of passage into CBXB’s clan.

And if you’re too chicken shit, we understand and will be happy to cocktail with you anyway.

Until then...

Equal opportunity drinkers.

Just remember, the family that Wapatoolies together, stays together.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

How to be Almost Famous on a Cruise

Oh spring break how I miss you.

Not me right now.

Not me right now.

It seems just about everyone I know is packing up and heading to a warm, sunny, sandy, cocktail filled destination at the moment. So while sitting on the porch at my Nashville mini manse with an umbrella shoved into my Skinny Pirate, bird shit under my feet and last summer’s failed flower attempts rotting away in their pretty pots reminiscing on past vacations, I got a fresh email from Carnival Cruise Lines (rub it in my face whydontcha?).

Oh the joys of porch sitting.

How we feel about winters that last too long with no spring break.

Upon being reminded that I won’t be sailing away on a fun ship anytime soon, I decided revisiting a vacay with you would put a little pep in my spring step and give you tips for trashtactic hilarity on a boat.

First, one must kick the trip off with a photo bomb.

Sweet Nana just wanted a photo with her daughters for a holiday card…too bad. We were the last group to get on board and my attempt at a successful bomb even made the photographer giggle after his other 1,998 snapshots.

Last but not least ruining a Christmas card.

Upon boarding the ship, you must rush to your room and make sure the liquor mouthwash you carefully packed (even reattaching the tamper seal with super glue…yep I’m that classy!) did not get confiscated from luggage (God forbid any extra money is spent aboard the ship).

Mouthwash at its finest. Best mouthwash ever.

Mouthwash at its finest.

Next, you must check out the personalized party favors gifted from the gang you’re traveling with…thus finding out where you rank popularity-wise (don’t get your hopes up too high). Our party received tanks with nick names listed on the back (I loathe wearing matching giddy-ups but have no shame) as well as personalized drinking glasses.

The problem? My name isn’t Morgan.

Obviously my drinking reputation preceded my appearance on the boat.

To ease your mother’s worried mind, send her a picture of yourself ensuring the height of the cabin deck railings will prevent you from falling overboard into the sea (she was seriously concerned about this taking place – but in her defense I once fell down every single step at the Lincoln Memorial on a class trip).

Look Ma, no hands!

It would take waaaaay too much effort for me to hoist myself over. Plus, I don’t want to get my hair wet. Priorities, yo.

To make your trip above and beyond entertaining, you should seek out the loudest, crudest, funniest, could-give-a-rat’s-ass ladies (one of their crew experienced boat jail before even stepping aboard the ship because she forgot she had bullets in her purse…you know in between her moonshine and tampons) to be your cruise BFFs, calling attention to every single thing you do.

Lost in the bullet offender's bosom.

Quietly lost in the bullet offender’s bosom before a photo op.

Decible breaking

The unabashedly trashy, thunderous, photo loving group.

Having boisterous new pals will make complete strangers come up and want pictures taken with you. Below is my newly acquired bestie, who wanted her picture taken with “crazy girl” (shockingly her words, not mine). She introduced herself as Old Fart, naturally.

Craziness with an Old Fart.

I also suggest adopting a cruise pet to keep you mind off your little fur ball anxiously awaiting your return home. I took an adorable pigeon under my drunken wing, trying to coax him to perch upon my finger by tossing coconut breading his way. As the bird gobbled up the goods I kept scaring the bejesus out of him while trying to shove my digit under his talons.

Pigeon on my finger fail.

To really up the ante and make a famous ass of yourself on a cruise, get tipsy (because it’s raining and you have nothing else to do all day long but guzzle libations).

Touchdown!

When it rains, I pour.

Then while making your way to the bathroom, get motivated to stop and dance with a lone stranger (she was having her own fun, so I needed to crash her party) on the slippery deck to the sweet sounds of Hall & Oates.

The unsuspecting crowd.

A rainy deck full of eyes about to be on yours truly.

Because you’ll be dancing as if no one was watching (like, you know 902 eyeballs) be sure you still have your swimsuit on at 11pm for the complete effect (because rainy days call for swimsuits and no wardrobe changes) as you act like you’ve never pranced around in your damn life.

Celebrate good times, c'mon!

Celebrating my mad non-rhythmic, making-an- ass-of-myself skills.

All of your dancing nonsense will not only garner you endless stares from passengers the next day, it will also grant you first place in a very special contest. I woke up to this on our cabin door the following morning…

YES! I WON! Wait…

All in all if you follow my steps carefully, you will have a hazy recollection of a fun, eventful, laugh-’til-you-throw-up kinda cruise (or spring break). And you really won’t care that you made an ass of yourself (provided you drink all of your liquor mouthwash).

Ships ahoy!

CBXB

CBXB!