The Birthday Bitch is BACK

Getting ready to start another 365 fresh days, I’m BAAAAAACK. I’d lost (now found!) the “celebrate everyday” mantra that I was so used to pre-Rapegate. Three years without any of my usual March references…”it’s my birthday month” or “did you know my birthday is exactly three months after Christmas,” (I mean, maybe we can say I’m god’s gift, OK?) to “we’re gonna do what I wanna do because it’s my birthday MONTH.”

YOU WILL CELEBRATE AND YOU WILL FUCKING LOVE IT.

Since I was a kid, my life revolved around Christmas, my birthday and then, the Iowa State Fair. Much to my cousin B’s dismay (I can only assume), I was born right smack dab in the middle of his birthday, therefore he was forced lucky to share his special occasion with me at every March family gathering. (He’s the super happy kid to your left in the pic below).

It’s all about meeeeeeeee. Sorry, not sorry B.

Instead of forcing myself to get it together and sorta celebrate like I have the last few years, I readily have my sparkly party stilettos on and am ready to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the fuck out of my day of birth. Like, for the remaining days of March. And also, because my birthday is on Monday, it’s really only fair to make it a birthday week.

I’m gonna huff, puff and blow those motherfucking candles out. Even if I light my own.

(side note, I’m gonna need someone to make a gluten-free yellow cake with chocolate frosting with one billion multi-colored sprinkles on it, thanks).

Huff. Puff. and Blow.

Huff.

Puff.

Blow.

I’m gonna act like my mom and document the fuck out of every.single.second of my special day. Like she did with my sweet pink and purple pony cake, accompanied by my lovely oversized spectacles and semi-mullet hair do.

My most gorgeous birthday photo ever.

Hello Gorgeous.

Documenting attire like the time she allowed (like anyone could ever allow me to do anything) me to celebrate my birthday with sweet wispy bangs and a crocheted vest that looked like one of my Grandma Vogel’s doilies she so effortlessly made.

Crochet nightmare

Always so fashion forward.

Celebrate

More my speed these days.

I’m going to open every text, social media well wish, card and gift like it’s the one and only thing I’ve ever received in my life.

Always act surprised.

Holy shit! I love it! No, truly I do.

I will not be holding up fingers to commemorate the age of which I am turning because I ran out of fingers after the age of 10. (side note: how hilarious is it that I have a shirt on that says First Mate, First Mate?).

Insist

I’m this many today.

I may, however, enlist the peeps around me to count other birthday fun.

When you’re out of fingers on both hands, just count drinks.

When one of you does show up at the mini manse door with my gluten-free cake in hand, I am going to need a shit ton of frosting on it. And having a crown crafted of construction paper wouldn’t hurt either.

Scoobs.

Paper Princess.

Then I may need assistance with eating the delivered cake if my hands are full with cocktails.

Keepin' it classy. As usual.

Are your hands clean?

I’m already practicing my ‘birthday adorable’ look that I mastered oh so few years ago for photo capturing.

Mug for the camera.

Oh who me? Why yes it is my birthday. I’ll just hold this pose for the rest of the day.

It’s a tradition I am still working on.

Adorableness FAIL.

Work in progress.

I’m going to dance, jump and twirl (but not down) to my heart’s content, acting as if I have one ounce of rhythm somewhere in my body.

PARTY!

Mosh pits before mosh pits were cool.

Dance

I may try a high kick, which for me is possibly as high as my hip…if I’m lucky.

Head banging also accepted.

This seems to be the appropriate dance moves when we run out of fingers in which to count cocktails.

I’m probably going to invest in some sort of kazoo or party favor to carry around next week so when anyone asks how my day is going, I’ll just blow it in their face. Like a classy lady.

Blow it out.

I’m fabulous. It’s my birthday week.

I’m gonna surround myself with my fabulous friends forcing in celebratory fashion.

The more, the merrier.

Oh the variety of bangs…

Did I mention it was all about me?

Along with gluten-free cake, diamonds, Louis Vuittons, rescue cats, anything sparkly, Iowa Hawkeye football season tickets, anything skull, stilettos, bubble bath, a new deep jet bath tub for said bubble bath, I will also be accepting birthday shots, wine and Skinny Pirates.

Why thank you

Birthdays taste so good.

I may or may not have consumed all liquids at this table.

Birthday Skinny Pirate in the house!

They just “get” me at Dalts.

This year, I’ll be drinking to the wise words my Gma always told me as I bitched about growing another year older, “having another birthday sure beats the alternative.” Jesus, it sure fucking does. I’ll drink to that!

Truth.

Now, who wants to celebrate with me?

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Wink – The Luckiest Girl

It’s that time of year that green is all around us in Nashville as a welcomed sight. The grass, the leaves and this past weekend, the hue of celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, Patrick.

I met up with one of my former band mates, Keys, and we had a fun catch up lunch at my fave watering hole, Dalts.

Old friends make me a lucky gal.

Friends of yesteryear also keep me company with kind words and support he’s always throwing behind me.

I had a guest coming over for supper (oh, we will get into this supper vs. dinner debate at a later date) Friday evening and I hadn’t made my Lazy Lasagna (or anything that didn’t simply require a microwave heat up) in…well, I can’t remember when. Naturally, I acted like I was concocting an eight course meal, when really I was just layering ingredients.

Slaving away for supper.

Lucky for me, it turned out in my favor.

Once the lasagna was baked and in my belly, I promptly took a 16 hour nap, gearing up for the weekend festivities.

Pot of gold kickers.

In celebration of the season, I’d gussied up my pink tinsel Christmas Celebration tree and sat to enjoy my Saturday spiked coffee in front of it.

Lucky tree.

Perk Me Up.

Meeting up with friends for the celebration of Irish culture did not make for a dull time.

Lucky ladies.

I’m gonna need these hearts in pink for daily use.

We saw nothing but green until we started to consume cocktails of the day’s hue.

The Queen of green Jell-O shots…

.. might have had me seeing black and white.

While I was busy with Shamrock Shenanigans, my Iowa twins were road tripping down South.

Lucky they’re on their way to see me!

My neck aches for them.

It’s hard to remember just how little these two nuggets were a mere three years ago.

Time flies with twinning fun.

Three years later and still the cutest two shits I know.

Speaking of shits, I’m lucky to know the most fun one in all of Iowa City. My buddy N8 never misses a chance to morph into the best leprechaun every year.

Lucky leaning tower of green.

On Sunday, the actual day of Saint Patrick, I met up with First Mate for a gulp of our favorite boxed rosé. Although we didn’t get the green dye for to properly mark the occasion, we made do.

Pink and green are the perfect pairing.

It was so fabulous outside, we couldn’t resist a patio where Van Waffle asked me to take his picture. The fucking nerve.

My thoughts on being the photographer vs. the model.

All in all, the weekend of sunny skies, fabulous company and fun made me feel like the luckiest girl. Although, what makes my world go round always takes my lucky cake…

Lucky fur mama.

Here’s hoping a little luck comes your way this week.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

 

Weekend Winks – Cocktails, Crocs and Kindness

There are some weeks that seem 14 days long and Friday couldn’t have gotten here soon enough. Nashville has been plagued with rain and dreary skies for the last month (not to bitch too much because I know it’s been earth shatteringly freezing above the Mason Dixon Line).

Once the work week was behind me, my gal pal Rasta came over for a little girl’s night in. She’s been under the weather since the holidays and is finally feeling better.

Jazz hands for happy health.

I’ve been cheating on The Pussy Posse with my side hustle, which is pet sitting. I can’t say I don’t love it because look at these faces…

Princess Purr-A-Lot.

Some definite puppy love going on.

Rocco the dog lives in an apartment complex and while I was dropping in on him, I could not help but notice the pile up of shoes at his neighbor’s place. The first visit I just glanced and thought they must have had company. The second visit I noticed that a pair were fucking Croc style knock-offs that were camouflage. I mean, please.

No. Just no.

Some dude actually wears those motherfuckers.

When I posted on my Insta about the in my opinion abhorrent shoes, I received messages with excuses examples of why people have them. My favorite response was that I should burn them to help the guy out. Slappy takes the cake because she has a matching pair with her husband – BUT only for outdoor purposes and they aren’t camo, so that’s OK?

Oh, Slappy….

My Iowa twins spent some much deserved time in Mexican sun after a winter with temperatures bottoming out at -52 degrees.

Riding back to Iowa…

They went from sunny and 80 degrees to about 12 degrees in two hours. Their vehicle needed pushing assistance from helpful Samaritans upon their landing back in Iowa.

Back to the snow.

Just as active as ever, they went from horse back riding to drive way ice skating in a day’s time.

Personal skating rink.

While they were outside burning through energy, their cousin was watching the Nashville Predators all the way in Iowa. Cheering for the yellow team because yours truly likes them. How fucking cute is that?

GO YELLOW TEAM!

So many decisions needed to be made on my behalf regarding Saturday night because I had been properly asked out to supper. I haven’t been out – really out – since Rapegate and this was a fabulous sign that I was excited. I was excited I was excited which means there’s been some major healing on the forefront.

To platform or to platform?

We went to a fabulous foodie restaurant called Husk. Being that I am a frequent guest of lower status restaurants, I had to enlist in the help of Sister CBXB and BIL to guide me with choices, as Husk’s menu changes daily.

I am officially a fucking foodie. Between the crafted cocktails and quality of the meal, I feel like Chili’s isn’t going to be a place I frequent as often.

Never have I ever seen catfish so pretty.

First Mate ended up meeting us out after supper and I stayed all snuggled up on her sofa. Because neither of us can (or like) to cook, she spoiled me with coffee and Bubly the next morning.

Sunday morning two-for-one.

These two knuckleheads were up and at ’em early making the most of their day of rest (which honestly, I don’t think these kids ever rest and relax unless they are asleep in bed).

One version of Sunday Funday.

My version of Sunday Funday.

While enjoying my bloody mary at Dalts, I was recalling the time shortly after Rapegate began, I received a package from a reader when I arrived one Friday night. It was from a complete stranger who knew I frequented my favorite watering hole and contained the sweetest note of encouragement and a bottle of Captain Morgan Private Stock. Funny that this then popped up in my Facebook memories last night.

Speaking of sweet surprises, I received a package with the most purrfect for me present inside.

Truth.

You guys spoil me beyond and know just when a gal needs a smile. Thank you T. Ratt for thinking of me and gifting me my now favorite shirt.

Speaking of faves, you know that Princess B is basically morphing into her crazy aunt.

So many colors. So little time.

Except she has me drooling with envy over her fucking insane hair.

Gorgeous as all get out.

And she knows it.

What better way to end the weekend than with a sudsy soak?

Bubbles make my world go round.

Cheers to a fabulous first full week of March!

CBXB

CBXB!

Summer Swirldown

How in the fuck is it the middle of September already? I mean, south of the Mason-Dixon Line we’re hitting 90 degrees today,
so it still feels like July. However, I am ready for all things Hallothanksgivingmas to commence and you can bet your ass I’m beyond thrilled college football is in full swing.

The tests of life were full throttle over the sweltering months of heat and while I tried to remain armored and ready to fight, I found myself more than exhausted.

*most of the time*

Much of the summer was spent lounging on my leopard couch with The Pussy Posse, admiring my seasonal celebration tree adorned with flamingos and sunglasses.

Yep. That’s Cousin Eddie’s camper beneath the tree.

 

 

 

The first punch of summer was coming home to the mini manse one Monday after work, finding my sweet Precious had passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. She was the last link to my “old” (aka pre-Rapegate life) and losing her really took one of the last pieces of my sparkly black heart.

Ted and Presh reunited over the rainbow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course loss is a way of life, and with the horrible, comes the fabulous. One of my fave peeps, 5 Degrees, flew me to Phoenix to par-tay over the Fourth of July.

I have the best friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I packed my leopard print suitcase (which still isn’t unpacked all the way – 5D, does that make your OCD skin crawl?!) and took my American Bad Ass south, not being able to wait to get the fuck out of Dodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was able to not only cut loose with 5D and my beloved gal pal, Dumpy, I also was able to finally sleep. Instead of a puke and rally like performed in college days, I napped and rallied. In the middle of the party, I went to my bedroom, slept a few hours, work up and started all over.

A gent, a lady and an ass clown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After gracing Phoenix with my presence, Rasta and I celebrated Nashville Pride by having duct tape slapped over our loud mouths. Kidding. It was for the NoH8 campaign.

I know many of you would like me to wear this tape daily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best lazy days are spent at the pool and I put hard time in over the summer.

Pool days for days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girls just wanna have sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that I’m moving along in PTSD recovery, I can actually concentrate and read again without forgetting what I just read when I turn the page. I’ve immersed myself in books thanks to Sister CBXB, sending me all the good reads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I wasn’t at the pool reading, I was in the bubbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of reading, my Iowa twins started kindergarten. Fucking kindergarten!

Two tall weeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not excited about it at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After twirling myself down to the concrete and gaining a concussion, I hobbled around like a 92-year-old with a broken hip (when I really just had- have- a broken toe).

The Steven Tyler of cane decorators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While rest proved to be just what the body ordered, it was the time of year where I could either choose to celebrate life or grieve in sadness as the first anniversaries of the lost loves came. The magnitude of losing my best friend just hasn’t gone away. The time has helped to ease the heaviness in my heart but there really isn’t anything that helps with the void of our daily routine. And how he was always there when I came home from Rapegate therapy every Thursday as I cried in my closet – he never left my side. Holy fuck was I lucky to be his mama. I can’t wait to see him again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first anniversary of the passing of Aunt Crazy Pants was a cruel reminder that I have yet to realize that she’s actually gone. I didn’t see her every day or talk to her every day but I sure as fuck still think to pick up the phone and call to bitch about a bad day or ask how to what the fuck shallots are for some ludicrous recipe because I’m no genius in the kitchen. While tears were shed, Mama CBXB, First Mate, Bird Lady and myself cheersed to ACP at the Cheesecake Factory with her fave cocktail, a Gin Rickey.

Celebrating ACP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, we shopped for shoes and sipped champagne at Tory Burch.

Cheers to the life lived.

 

 

One of the end-of-summer highlights…I, most likely along with every other customer, received a VIP card to my beloved Dalts. Which, in my opinion, I should have received 100 years ago.

About fucking time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best part of the swirl down of summer? It’s the start of college football season, bitches. And Coach Kirk Ferentz of my Iowa Hawkeyes is not only celebrating his 20th year as Iowa’s head coach, he’s also the longest tenured coach in college football and just nabbed the all-time wins as an Iowa coach, surpassing Hayden Fry.

 

 

You know what football season means…it’s time for weekly tailgates with Dada CBXB!

Family tradition touchdown shot time!

 

 

 

 

Feeling a little stuck in the middle of muck this summer, the rest, family, friends and fur balls have kept me plugging along.

Stuck in the middle…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’m ready to tackle (pun intended) the rest of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love ya, mean it.

CBXB

CBXB!

Dog Days of Summer

If you know me in the slightest, you know that my fur kids are people to me (whenever I walk in my front door, no matter if I just took the trash out, I holler “where my peeps at?”). My world revolves around them. And, suffice to say, I have had the greatest honor and pleasure of rescuing a small zoo.

But there are always fur babies that hold an extra special spot in your heart and I’m sad to share that I came home from work last week and found that my chug, Precious, had passed away. She was in the exact spot where she normally awaits my arrival home. Although, upon calling out, her little tail didn’t wag and her head didn’t pop up in excitement of seeing her mama after mere hours away from one another.

Coolest chug on the planet.

To say that I am devastated is an understatement. I am having a hard time writing this now – and yet as we all know too fucking well – life moves on. For me, I’m trying to comprehend the timing. I’ve lost my two best fur friends within a year. Two fur peeps that were like guns in holsters by my side, one on each hip constantly. My chest has been heavy and my heart is honestly in pieces. But with my constant support system of the fabulous humans in my life, I’ve managed one moment at a time. One bestie told me that if she didn’t know me, she’d think I had Munchausen Syndrome of drama because so much shit has rained down in the last few years. But unfortunately, it’s all true. Which is why I always let people go first when we talk about how our day has been.

Ted and Presh. Best buddies playing forever over the Rainbow Bridge.

I dread walking through the front door where I found Presh but on the first day the task had to be done, I had a bouquet from the most kick ass friends in which a girl could wish greeting me. They were sitting right outside my door, easing the burden of the inevitable door walk through.

Flowers are a grieving gal’s best friend.

While I wanted to wallow in bed with the covers over my head, I realized I do have rent to pay, lights to keep on and four pussies to feed. When I came into work, pink roses awaited my arrival.

Team members showed their love.

My cousin and his wife were thankfully in town Friday and Dada CBXB and myself went to meet them for a much-needed Skinny Pirate(s) after the longest fucking week. While I do pride myself in being current, I couldn’t help but die when I snapped a pic of our cocktails and saw that a walker was in the background. If you get to Dalts before 5pm, you’ll be sharing the bar with people who make you feel like a newborn. And I don’t hate it.

Can you tell we’re related?

In my Iowa twin news, there were getting prepped for the arrival of Coo Coo (yes, that’s the phrase we use for grandpa – always keeping it classy).

Hunk of the month. I’m talking about the boy, not the dog.

Swish swish full of swag.

Coo Coo made it just in time for cocktail hour on Saturday.

Jazz hands run in the family, obvies.

Another thing that runs in the family? Fabulous nails. Princess B set out to give Auntie CBXB a run for her patriotic mani money.

Red, white and blue-hoo!

Tootsies too.

Same color scheme, slightly different approach for this old broad. I can’t wait to make Sister CBXB give me a manicure next time I see her since she’s got mad mani skills.

Patriotic claws.

While Coo Coo and the twins were living it up in Iowa, I was having a time getting my ass outta the bed.

Rasta and the sun coaxed me out of the mini where I floated the day away.

We were slightly alarmed after seeing the obviously-required-by-the-codes-department-sign hanging at the pool that missed vital information…

Who’s gonna save me?

Getting ready for a bath (full of bawling my eyes out) post swim, First Mate called and saved the day. She swung by with Bota Box Rosé (seriously the best box of wine on the market at the moment) and we chit chatted and then started to binge watch the show Younger (seriously an easy-to-watch-thirty-minutes-of-fuff). And then my main TV crapped out. Did we let ruin our slumber party?

The Gulp ‘n’ Go.

Nope. We moved the cheese platter, popcorn and the pussies into the bedroom.

Our Cardboardeaux Rosé accompanied us.

Nothing like nestling in for a binge…until someone says “I just need to rest my eyes,” and it’s lights out. So First Mate saw herself out of the mini after her host rudely passed out.

Slumber party shenanigans.

Starting the newest novel by Ruth Ware, I decided it was better to get more vitamin D while reading than complete and utter darkness under the covers. Sunday Funday found me back at the pool in 95 degree heat. While I have gained 40 pounds since Rapegate, the one perk of the extra LBs has been the enhancement of my flat chest (oh and I have pride in photos and videos that make the rounds to friends).

Wallowing in the sun.

Complete package.

With must needed thirst quenchers.

Again when I was side eyeing the bath tub (Precious would sit on the toilet while I bathed – again, nothing but classy white trash), knowing it would cause a tearfest, Bird Lady happened to call and suggest a cocktail and snack outing.

When she saw me she said, “Your hair looks really great. What did you do?”

“I finally washed it.”

So fresh and so clean cocktail hour.

Thanks again from the bottom of my heart for helping this gal, who is seriously trudging through the muck of life (I mean fucking seriously, was I a serial killer in a past life?), feel loved, important and heard. Words, gestures and hugs go the longest way.

Can’t wait to see her again and Bear again. Two great loves of my life.

Take care of yourselves. Look both ways before crossing the street. Make sure you don’t fall down any stairs. Wear a floatie in the lake. Make sure that seat belt snaps. Because if you’re reading this, I love you. And my heart can take no more losses at the moment.

XOXO –

CBXB

CBXB!

 

Weekend Winks – Cinco de Drinko

How can you cram in the Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo AND a Nashville Predators hockey play-off game all in one day?

Piece of cake for this liver of mine.

Oh how the anticipation of a Friday feels so good. A long week of work and an even longer week of insane non-fake news calls for a pit stop at my fave watering hole, Dalts.

Skinny Pirates for celebration and consoling.

There was something ultra empowering for victims of sexual assault this week, as America’s former favorite TV dad was found guilty in court for his heinous acts. As he fucking should have been in the first place after nearly five dozen women came forward and spoke out – and keep in mind these are his victims that chose to speak up. Think about the countless others who remain silent for their own reasons. I can’t wait for this man to rot the rest of his life away.

EPIC WIN FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS

On the far end of the negative spectrum, my home state, Iowa, that has always been my pride and joy, took women’s rights back about 50 years. BY THE FEMALE GOVERNOR. Now, I don’t care where you stand on abortion – however, this new legislation prevents abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. SIX WEEKS. Most of my friends who have had children, didn’t know they were pregnant until well after this point. Even if a child is molested and becomes pregnant, or a pregnancy occurs because of rape, the victims only have 45 days to speak up before they must keep the baby. FUCK THAT SHIT.

I mean, if the government truly thinks humans were put on this Earth to procreate, men shouldn’t be able to masturbate to fruition because, the sperm ejaculated could have produced a baby, right?

EPIC FAIL IOWA

All that being said, Dalts was happy to see Camo and Captain doing our drinking thang.

Camo with crazy runaway bride eyes – you guys remember her?

While I was sipping on Skinny Pirates, awaiting Mama CBXB’s arrival to Nashville, my Iowa twins were enjoying the simple treats in life…baseball and ice cream.

While I had my mini sombrero laid out for Cinco de Meowy, I had major tugging at my heartstrings when this popped up in my Facebook feed.

I have a love/hate relationship with these goddamn Facebook memories.

While I was a tad teary eyed Saturday, the twins were all giggle and games in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

Princess B didn’t let dizziness deter her.

 

Prince B was a bit further from the tail…

 

I tried gussying up with a new product for the celebratory holiday – magnetic false eye lashes. It went about how you’d expect with me.

 

False eyelash-less, I hosted a small party for my NHL Stanley Cup hopeful Nashville Predators. Bird Lady, First Mate, Mama CBXB and yours truly partied regardless of the dismal performance by the Preds. They ended up losing at home 6-2…but the drinkos kept being poured anyhow.

Derby Success.
Cinco de Drinko Success.
Predators FAIL.

A gorgeous Sunday was made for a fun day of errands. Specifically to my second mothership, where I picked up a cat tree fit for my four pussies. Mama CBXB gifted it to her grandcats as a late Christmas gift.

Cray Cray Cat Lady version of Sunday Funday.

I was a usual shit show carrying it to the car, adorning the dumpster wedding veil I keep in my trunk “just in case,” to load the tower into my vehicle. I mean, I didn’t want to crush it, so I put it on.

Who doesn’t do this?

After clearing a little room for plants, we picked up a few flowers to help my black thumbs (I killed a cactus this winter) morph more toward green. Upon arriving home, the pussies couldn’t decide whether to climb on the cat nip loaded tower or eat all of the greenery and throw up.

Decisions. Decisions.

Fabio declaring his space.

Ruby Sue nestled right in.

Rocky couldn’t be bothered to try either, as he was near comatose on the bed.

Fine here, thanks.

Elsa Pants, aka Stank Face, bucked the trend and went for the plants.

…she owns this title.

I can’t wait to see what she’s left for me after work today.

Cheers!

CBXB

 

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