Turkey Table

Oh the good times I had at the kids’ table on holidays. Us cousins would sit around a tiny table that our Gpa Morris constructed for Mama CBXB’s pre-school kids (she ran Kiddie Kollege from our basement) and we would have our construction papered pilgrim hats proudly atop our noggins.

Pilgrim Fun

Yeah, we know. Killer hats.

Topics often covered during the meal at our no-one-yet-in-the-double-digits table included knuckle sandwiches (usually whether or not I wanted one to which my response was, “No thank you I’ve already had one”), Sister CBXB announcing for the umpteenth year in a row she was thankful for her “Gaggy” (in non-toddler speak, that means dad although she couldn’t enunciate the “d” sound which made her declaration all the more nauseating for those of us who understood) and who was going to get a Jell-O knox block (this was obviously long before we started adding vodka to this delicatessen) for dessert first.

A few decades later, here’s what the same cousins look like at a “table”.

Knuckle sandwiches traded in for Patrón.

Now that we all live in different cities, states and the majority have procreated, the tables at turkey time look different but that doesn’t mean they still aren’t full of some fucking fun.

Maybe your table leans on the traditional side with overflowing dishes prepped by master family chefs (that would not be me, mind you).

Come and get it.

Maybe your table is a mixed bag of friends who all have human offspring but yours truly.

Maybe your table is surrounded by folks who don’t have spawn.

Fur moms.

Maybe your table is for two with your great aunt who has more energy at 90 years young than you’ve ever had in your life.

Head locked lovin’.

Maybe your table is surrounded by folks who show the fuck up when it matters most.

Sisters sandwich.

Maybe your table is reserved for remembering those who don’t physically sit with us any longer.

Margs and memories.

Maybe your table is full of extended family from far away, new friends and not one of you knows how to carve a fucking turkey.

Who has the knife?

Maybe your table is reserved for jazz handing, crown wearing queens.

Yes. We are all queens.

Maybe your table is filled to the rim with vino and friends.

Fuck food. Fill us up.

Maybe your once full table is empty as you relish a second helping of pumpkin pie.

Still desserting.

So Aunt Juju virtually joins you because we’re 500 miles apart.

Maybe your table is a toilet because you just need a holiday alone.

Never not classy.

Now new occupants reign the kids’ table, complete with their own artwork.

Turkey masterpiece.

The pilgrim hats of yesteryear have sure come a long fucking way.

The next generation at the turkey table.

Thanksgiving is a holiday for appreciation and I’m thankful for my fellow pilgrims who’ve weathered every type of table with me.

Love ya, mean it.

Cheers to enjoying your seat at the table, wherever and whatever it may be.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Gobble on.

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Sorry Not Sorry

I’m having some major holidayitis. It’s all I can do at work to stay focused because my head is in North Pole clouds. So I’ve been passing my time during my eight hour day like a cotton-headed ninny muggin.

Making good use of work centerpieces.

As soon as I arrived home to the Mini Manse on Friday night, I poured a hefty glass of vino while I planted my ass on my leopard throne. When it was time for me to break my seal, I came back from the bathroom to find an atrocity created by a curious canine.

The HORROR.

While red wine was soaking like quicksand into my beloved custom couch (first and last big girl purchase since college), I not-so-silently freaked out. I glanced at the other end of the sofa and found the culprit just wallowing in her guilt.

Sorry not sorry.

I quickly ran to my new best friend (since The Pussy Posse has reached numbers of a zoo and due to my overall daily klutziness), Resolve carpet cleaner. This shit works miracles but I wasn’t sure if it would be enough for red wine on a spotted couch.

Couch (and Prissy life) saver.

Turns out, the Resolve performed an early Christmas miracle.

What wine?

Prissy felt so badly, she pretended as if nothing happened. I didn’t cry tears over the spilled wine but I did have some choice words for the pom.

The nerve of this bitch.

Saturday was an early tailgate for Dada CBXB and me with our Iowa Hawkeyes kicking off at 11am. We downed our first touchdown shot before noon.

Who doesn’t shoot shots before noon?

Iowa went on to be victorious due to field goals, so our family tradition was one and done for the day but I was able to eek out a bit more for Saturday fuel.

Dada CBXB loaded several of my Christmas bins in his sleigh for Saturday delivery (full disclosure: not all of them would fit into his vehicle, so the rest are coming in next weekend). The Mini Manse currently looks like Christmas got drunk and threw up all over but at least I’m making Santa proud.

Christmas cray cray.

I wasn’t alone in my holiday excitement. The twins have gained the love of all things decorating from Sister CBXB and started trimming one of their trees.

After elfing and unloading bins, I sat down for a quick rest that turned into a full-on pussy mauling. Which translates into “I couldn’t move for three hours because cats were all over me.”

Thundercunt snuggle.

I moved when she moved.

Fabio, Ruby Sue (TC) and not pictured: Rocky and Scooch.

Sweet Princess Elsa Pants of the Mini Manse perched on the highest place possible, just out of reach. She’s my socially anxious pussy that is finally realizing the luckiness of her life with this crazy cat lady.

Finally settling in…after three years.

Beyond excited to watch Saturday Night Live, which was hosted by Will Ferrell, I pissed my pants (again) when Maya Rudolph reprised her role as Kamala Harris. In a previous SNL skit, she declared herself “America’s Fun Aunt” which she shortens to F.U.N.T. She then went on to say she was also “America’s Cool Aunt” and stopped short when she started to say C.U.N…–. I died. You can watch the skit here.

While I was busy wearing my rewind button out, pissing my pants over a F.U.N.T. the twins were prepping for their upcoming viewing of Frozen 2.

Prince B decked out in one of a kind bling crafted himself.

Princess B not only handcrafted herself Frozen-themed necklaces, but her mama also created a hair-do in which Princess Elsa herself would envy.

Beyond jealous of the hair.

Sunday really was a fun day for me. I meandered out to get groceries at 10am and ended up hitting two TJ Maxx stores (my second mothership to Target), Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls, Kirklands and my fave liquor store, Reds. I didn’t mean to but it was fun just gazing at all of the holiday decor. I’m pretty sure I lost all sense of smell from the 1,843,023 candles I had to fucking sniff. I stumbled on a fun delight at Reds – canned bubby rosé from House Wines. Two dollars from each can benefits the Human Rights Campaign. So, I was doing my good deed for the day, right?

Making errands bright.

When I finally arrived back at the Mini Manse, my monthly box of cat shit had arrived. No matter how many mother fucking pet beds are around, the pussies insist that boxes are best.

Rocky. Never a dick in a box.

Ruby Sue. Always a dick in a box.

I settled into what was supposed to be a relaxing bubble bath with my brand new wine glass from family who visited earlier this month. It immediately became my favorite upon laying eyes on it as it reads: I do not spew profanities. I enunciate them CLEARLY like a fucking lady. It’s like my cousin “gets me” or something. Speaking of getting, Prissy had visions of vino in her head as she tried to not-so-slyly get into the glass on the edge of my tub. She’s such a fucking bitch but she’s so obviously mine as she’s a true booze hound.

Still NOT sorry.

As the holidays roll around and the state of the world is divisive at best, I think it’s a good time to remember kindness. Life can be harsh as we are all aware, but being kind isn’t hard. I have a lot of people in my life who have lost loved ones, with this being their first holiday without them here. I also know peeps who just loathe the holiday seasons for their own reasons. Whatever the case may be, just remember a smile can go a mile.

Thanks for the reminder Mr. Rogers.

Here’s hoping you have a short work week and unapologetically enjoy it.

Sorry not sorry.

CBXB

CBXB!

Spooky Sidekicks

Oh Halloween, how I’ve always loved thee. The 31st day of October was – and still remains – the kick-off to a long-awaited holiday season for me.

I'll cut a bitch

I’d still cut a bitch.

With an assist from my dad.

Letting Dada CBXB (you know, the guy who dresses up like Pam Anderson) do all of the carving work because even way back my nails were “jewels, not tools”.

In a small Iowa town where I was raised, we had costume parties at school and church (when you used to be able to call it a Halloween party complete with witches and bats, instead of a fucking bland Fall Festival with scarecrows and hay bales – why are there fun haters? Why?), parades to prance proudly down our eight block Main Street (where every single one of the 1,200 citizens showed up) and so much trick-or-treating mania, I’d have to come home halfway through the evening just to dump my candy (hiding it all from my dad in the dryer or it’d be gone by morning) because my pumpkin got so overloaded, it was too heavy for me to carry.

hall

Forget my adorableness for one second – what about the clown behind #165?

ped

A spectator sport for the entire town where I could show off my killer cookie wheels.

In my younger years, I carried the burden of celebrating Halloween by myself and being a lone Cookie Monster got frustrating.

Ho Hum

One is the loneliest number.

Begging my parents to procreate, I was presented with Sister CBXB (you know, the one who called my dad a goddamn son of a bitch at the age of four) who was immediately awarded with side kickin’ it as my lifetime partner-in-crime (lucky her). If I was going to be dressing up (oftentimes making an ass out of myself in later years) she was going to be doing it too, by god (town parades included).

In the beginning of our twosome, we were all about cutesy costumes.

Sugar'n' Spice

The rock star and Raggedy Ann. A little sugar for my spice.

The ‘cute’ theme seemed to carry on in our early years.  Except for the tilt in our heads…and the fog in the background…and the overall sinisterness of this photo.

Creepy Hollow

Cute masked crusaders in Creepy Hollow.

As we grew older, I wanted a little edge (well as much edge as an elementary kid and toddler could muster) to our giddy ups. I let my young inner badass out, as my sister scared the pants off no one as a two-headed monster, um, farmer?

very busy

That’s right. I was hardcore even in elementary school.

We slid slightly into the ghoulish department as my side kick joined me in grade school.

Scardey Crow

Scaredy crow and premature mini old man. Almost spine-chilling. Almost.

Then I graduated to truly frightening and fearful territory as I crept toward junior high.  Pebbles was not impressed.

Pebs

I’m also starting to wonder if there was any other color of hair paint than green, since that tends to be a trend here.

When we thought we were oh so grown up, our costumes reflected our mature attitudes.

Lady and the Tramp.

Lady and the Tramp. Or Princess and Sock Hop Girl…however you want to see it.

We were reminded in following years just how far from adults we were…especially yours truly. A recycled mask and costume from a previous Halloween hid my “I’m way too old for this shit” attitude toward trick-or-treating when I was forced to go with my younger sister in the eighth grade.

Barley a Boo

I can’t tell who’s more excited – the monster or the witch.

And being older we’re not so much cute, cuddly or even scary creatures…we’re just mostly cocktailed.

bl

The odd couple. Pocahontas and Kid Rock.

Now that we’re miles apart during the costuming time of year, it’s fun to look back at our sisterly ghosts of Halloweens past. But what’s even more fun is seeing her twin goblins growing to love the holidays as much as she and I did as kids.

Scary season #1.

As

Permanent partners-in-crime.

Scary season #2.

I know, I know. The cutest fucking dog and cat you've ever seen.

I know, I know.
The cutest fucking cat and dog you’ve ever seen.

Scary season #3.

Princess Leah and Yoda

Star Wars at its silliest.

Scary season #4.

A mermaid with her super hero.

Scary season #5.

Captain America and a Princess Peacock.

Scary Season #6.

Lloyd the LEGO ninja and a bitchin’ witch.

No matter how you choose to spend Halloween, here’s to having a side kickin’ ghoul for your spooky festivities.

Happy Haunting!

CBXB

CBXB!

Meowloweens from Halloweens Past

If you think stuffing pets in costumes is ridiculous, you’re gonna wanna divert your eyes.

The fur ball love of my life, Ted E. Bear has been gone for two years now. I couldn’t love any of my Pussy Posse more if I birthed them myself (and yes, I mean that with all of my fucking heart) but Teddy…Tedstar was THE ultimate love of my life. I would give almost anything to have him back with me although I know he’s mauling my Gma, Aunt Crazy Pants, Precious, New Cat and Nicodeamus up above not patiently awaitng my arrival.

When Mr. Bear and I first became connected, he had such a nervous disposition, it took almost two years of work to let me hold him (talk about being careful what you wish for). Once that happened, he was my shadow and I didn’t hate it. So when the art of dressing pets entered my mind, I had some ideas.

His looks could kill. So maybe a bodyguard costume was in order?

The stare that gazed through souls.

Ted always liked to be in control (obvies my baby), so when we’d road trip, he insisted on being in the driver’s seat. So maybe a truck driver costume?

Jesus Teddy take the wheel.

Dental hygiene isn’t something that pussies are fond of but then again, TB was no average feline. And being that we shared everything, he always used my toothbrush. So maybe a dentist costume?

Pearly whites.

Cheese.

Then there was the time I considered how much time I was spending watching my fave TV show, Forensic Files, as Ted mimicked a crime scene. He did this by jumping off the porch into a neighboring bush, leaving an outline of his body and himself ferociously confined to the bottom branches. The removal process should have been filmed for Forensic Files, as you can imagine how calm and tranquil and non dramatic a stuck cat can be.

Maybe a kitty CSI agent costume?

I slowly started introducing props to our costuming atmosphere. I began with a simple cowboy hat, as we lived in Nashville, the home of country music. He really loved it. So much so, he had the hat on for .000000000002 seconds.

Yeefuckinghaw.

After the western attire was a success, why not take it even more south of the border with a sombrero and poncho?

Mad hombre.

Since he obvies loved gussying up, I went out on a limb one Halloween and turned him into a member of the Apidae family, a bee.

Buzz.the.fuck.off.

Not so honey lickin’ good.

I had so much past success, the following year, I decided to not only gussy Ted up but join in on the fun with him. Why couldn’t I do a couple’s costume with my cat? That’s not weird. At all.

We went as Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. This was after Miley casually dry humped Robin in front of the world on live television at the MTV Music Awards earlier that year.

No gyrating here.

While it may look like I easily capture award winning selfies, about 8,325,910 photos were taken (I had to take resting breaks for my arm) in order to get the money shot.

Blurred lines.

Tongue lashing.

If Ted could wear sunglasses, he could certainly don a wig, right? The following Halloween, he was the Princess Leia to my Darth Vader.

Ted, I am your mother.

It was super easy getting him into wardrobe.

He don’t want none unless he gets his buns, Hon.

While we didn’t know it was our last time for dress up together, our Batman theme was our best Halloween ever.

Catman.

We’d taken in a sidekick, a cat I found at the dumpster (now that I think about it, I find a lot of fucking things at my dumpster…) and refused to give a name because I didn’t want to keep him even though we all know what happened. He stayed. And kept the name New Cat.

Poor New New had all kinds of anxiety and instead of audibly sighing so loudly the neighbors could hear like Bear, he preferred to hiss and bat his declawed paws at me (people who declaw animals and then dump them have a special place in hell) in defense of looking like a dressed up asshole.

A forced Robin.

Batman, Catwoman and Robin together furever about a split second.

Wishing they had superhero powers to use on their super whack job mama.

Robin’s revolt.

Upon New Cat’s divaesque behavior, Bear and I cuddled up only as a not-awkward-at-all mother and son duo could for our Halloween photo.

Purrfect pair.

I can almost hear the heavy sighs from Ted above right now. Only this time instead of being from forced costume insertion, they’re signs of relief. He was always such a little bitch.

Happy Meowloween!

CBXB!

 

Weekend Winks – Feelings of Funk

I have been in the worst mood the past few weeks. Nothing self inflicted – mostly my reaction to first world problems kind of bad mood. I haven’t been able to shake it the fuck off (where is Taylor Swift when I need her?!) and it’s been an emotional and mentally exhausting time. The kind that sucks the joy from your bones.

Anyone else been stuck in a foul funk?

All the feels.

Luckily for me, aside from implementing the coping skills gained from therapy, my fur babies just know when mama needs extra TLC.

Prissy leading the snuggle pack.

I can never stop gazing at her purrfectly imperfect underbite. It’s the fucking cutest thing to me.

No need for canine braces.

My middle boy, Fabs, is the pussy most attached to my side by demanding attention, head rubs, head butts and figure eighting between my legs in horrible attempts to trip his already klutzy as fuck mother. But damn do I love the companionship (and let’s be honest, constant attention).

As for my twins, Rocky and Ruby Sue (aka Thundercunt), they may as well be attached at the hip. At night, this is their exact position, only I’m in the middle.

The snuggle is real.

Coming home and being surrounded by The Pussy Posse is a tremendous aid in the day-to-day bad mood struggle. You know what else helps? Weekends. And booze.

First Mate has been busy running around the world traveling for her new job, so we needed a catch up on a fabulously fall weathered Friday.

My kind of happy hour.

What the fuck would we do without our friends?

Hawk chomp.

College football is also another sanity sidekick I eagerly anticipate every Saturday. My Iowa Hawkeyes lost two of the last three games, so there was some extra added bubbles into the mix, as our family tradition shots have been shockingly sobering the last two weeks.

Champs. The only thing fun about an 11am kickoff.

Still touchdownless during the first half against Purdue, we overindulged in all the tailgating snacks.

Snack attack ingredients combined.

Then FINALLY, Iowa scored two touchdowns, double shots went town smoothly and our livers were back up and running.

Two touchdowns and a WIN!

While I was celebrating Saturday away, my two little monsters in Iowa were busy prepping for Halloween.

Cutest pumpkins on the planet.

I’m not exactly sure what was in this concoction, or which witch is gonna consume but brewing took place outside of their palace.

Witches brew, anyone?

Princess B has become quite the “baker” as she learned how to deep fry an Oreo.

Chef BoyarePrincessBee

She hated it.

The grocery chain Trader Joe’s is one I have never stepped foot in, mostly because it’s in the middle of a highly congested area of Nashville (and we all know how I feel about the fucking traffic here nowadays). A new store opened in my neck of the woods, so I decided to make my way in for their CBXB priced wine I’m always hearing about.

Trader Me Happy!

I got a cart (buggy if you’re from below the Mason-Dixon Line) and soon remembered why I don’t go to grocery stores on Sunday. Especially stupid since this Trader Joe’s had its grand opening this week.

Superfuckingmarket Sweeps.

There is no way the store wasn’t at its capacity, as every aisle I tried to venture down was asses to elbows to shopping carts nipping at my fucking ankles. Therefore, I just stayed in the wine aisle and gazed lovingly at the gigantic assortment offered.

Still worth the pennies on the vino I paid.

After the shitshow of Trader Joe’s, I went to my mothership, Target and ran into First Mate. Obvies it’s obvies why we’re besties. Afterward, we headed to Dalts for our new favorite Sunday cocktail, the poinsettia (champs with cranberry juice).

Watering hole.

After settling back into the Mini Manse, I practiced my Sunday selfcare for two hours (yes, I have to drain the tub and add more hot water but soooooo worth it).

As for the funky feelings, they are still lurking around the corners of my mind but what can’t be cured by pumpkins and wine?

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – WTF Fall?!

Where the fuck is fall?

It’s been a balmy 90 degrees and higher month of September in Nashville with not much of an end in sight. If you live below the Mason-Dixon Line, you know what’s up. At this rate, we’ll get one day of fall at the end of October and then it will start snowing.

There are signs of autumn all around – green leaves are falling from the trees (because it’s so fucking dry here), pumpkin spice everything is being advertised everywhere (did Starbucks start this beyond basic trend with their flavored latte?), football in the college and professional realms have kicked off, hockey season is upon us and Halloween decor is out in full force. So come the fuck on fall weather.

Regardless of the tropical heatwave, I scored seats to a preseason Predators game. Feeling the cool air in the arena reminded me what season is coming next.

Puck yeah hockey season is here!

Sleepy and I sat a few rows off the glass and I had to keep yelling chants to keep her eyes open (I kid, I kid. But this chick has fallen asleep numerous times when we’ve hung out, hence her nickname and the beautiful photo below).

Smashed ‘n’  Sleepy.

What other sport symbolizes the start of fall like college football? This was the fifth week of play and Dada CBXB and I were ready, as always.

Photo props waiting for their close ups.

We switched our Family Tradition touchdown shots from moonshine to Tennessee Fire (cinnamon whiskey – waaaaaay smoother than Fireball), when the Hawks started scoring more than two touchdowns per game. Our livers have loved us ever since.

Tenn Fire.

We even had a prediction as to how many touchdown shots would take place when the Hawkeyes took on the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University.

Our buddy’s shot forecast sure started out on the right cleat.

One and NOT done.

I’ve been trying to incorporate Prissy into the game day hoopla. She is so over it.

Shot two with an side of eye roll.

It was 11:58am when we slid the third shot smoothly down our throats.

Third outside with the birds.

When I posted a video about our Family Tradition consumption on Instagram, a few more peeps had more predictions…

We aren’t quitters.

Four more please.

Jazz hands for the fifth TD.

Double hands for the final family tradition count!

With a final score of 48-3, we were high on life, a win and had well dehydrated livers. Aside from victory, Saturday’s game highlighted one of the most endearing stories to come around in awhile. On the program College Gameday (the one where my 82-year-old boyfriend Lee Corso commentates and I just stood six hours to catch a glimpse of him two weeks ago), it’s tradition to hold signs up during the broadcast. My Iowa Hawkeyes played in state rivalry, the Cyclones on September 14 on their turf in Ames.

In the crowd, one of the signs red “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished” along with a Venmo handle @CarsonKing-25. Meant to be a joke, strangers started sending funds to this Venmo account and when the sign maker, Carson King, a Cyclone fan, finally noticed, he’d received over $600 just during Gameday. And then, something specfuckingtacular happened. King decided that he would donate all of money he received for beer money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital which is in Iowa City, where the Hawks reside.

That’s when it took off…

With both Anheuser-Busch and Venmo’s pledges to match donations through the end of September 30, 2019 (you’ve got time to donate), Carson King will be donating well over $2 million dollars raised in TWO weeks. What a heartwarming story needed when the climate of America is so divisive. The world needs more Carson Kings (oh and p.s. he’s 24 years old).

#ForTheKids

After all the feel goods in the morning, I joined the crew at the pool for one last weekend.

Captain, First Mate, Sleepy and Mama CBXB.

Saturday night proved alright. Prissy, the Pussy Posse and I hunkered down for the premiere of SNL, which did not disappoint. If you missed it, look up the sketch where Woody Harrelson’s Joe Biden character compares himself to a plastic straw. Comedy writing at its finest.

Saturday night vibes and yet, more fucking side eye.

Although it feels like tropical vacation weather minus the vacation in Nashville, my apartment pool shuts down this week. So you bet your ass, I planted mine in a lounge chair all of Sunday.

See ya summer.

I’m already working on a bikini body for next year’s heatwave in hot yoga and spin classes (still trying to lose the weight gained since Rapegate).

Rising and fucking shining.

Now come the fuck on fall!

Cheers.

CBXB

CBXB!

For the Love of the Game

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.

It can be hard for those who experience trauma to remain in the moment, appreciating what life offers up for enjoyment. No matter how small the pleasure.

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.

I went into deep personal hibernation.

Somebody wake me when it’s 2025.

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 1,277 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.

My thoughts on hiking.

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’ve tirelessly acted as my own advocate with a horrendous 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 two years ago, ten days after I suddenly lost the fur ball love of my life, Ted. The searing dual losses not only felt like unusually cruel timing but also 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 the Iowa Hawkeyes versus the Iowa State Cyclones. It was a thrillingly unexpected day jam-packed with tailgating shenanigans.

The friendly family rivalry…

Battle of the birds.

The fun of endless booze all around…

I hate tailgating.

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

Shotski for three please.

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 big, loud pie hole…

A beauty and a sparkly beast.

Embarrassing my youngest cousin with all the right moves…

Cousin love is acceptable below the Mason Dixon line.

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.

I’m happy to report that in the two years after this fun day of football, I will be there again this upcoming Saturday as a thriving survivor. And holy shit Ames, look the fuck out. This survivor is gonna be there in the wee hours of the morning to secure a spot to see my 82 year old boyfriend, Lee Corso, with the rest of the College Game Day gang.

At the end of every episode, Lee picks one of the two teams featured and my fucking fingers, toes and legs are crossed that I get to see him don a Herky head.

Everything else is triple fucking crossed that I not only get to lay eyes on Lee but also, hopefully, maybe just maybe, get my hands on my other boyfriend, Herky the Hawkeye.

Stud.

I attended the University of Iowa for four years and never once got close enough for a pic together. But you bet your ass I tried.

Wait. Stop. I love you.

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.

I love you too, Lee.

The love of the football fan experience was and is a much needed reminder that I’m doing the best that I can every goddamn day. Aren’t we all?

Appreciate what life offers up for enjoyment when you can.

ON IOWA!

CBXB