The Lights That Guide You Home

It’s fucking insane that my kick ass Aunt Crazy Pants has been partying up above for nearly 365 days. Some moments, it feels like two years ago but mostly I still forget and think to pick up the phone to text or call and then remember I can only communicate via the red bird, a cardinal.

A song s-t-u-c-k in my brain like a worm the last couple of days has been “Fix You” by Coldplay from their X&Y album (if you haven’t heard it, stop what you’re doing and go download it or,  for those of you a tad more technologically challenged, click on the pink “Fix You” words above for a link to the video – you’re welcome. Now listen to it before reading the rest of this post).

I’ll wait.

Still waiting. (Uncle Toddy, have Gma’s second favorite grandchild help you. Mama CBXB, I will help you. Uncle Lew, you’re fucked unless Aunt Patti knows how to do it.)

OK, then.

In honor of Aunt Crazy Pants, raise those gin rickey’s (or Black Velvet and Diet 7Up, whichever you’re feeling) high in the air, as we celebrate how much we miss her and hate the fuck out of cancer in my mixed lyric rendition of the song.

Fix You

When you try your best

But you don’t succeed

When you get what you want

But not what you need

When you feel so tired

But you can’t sleep

Stuck in reverse

And high up above

Or down below

When you’re too in love

To let it go

But if you never try

You’ll never know

Just what you’re worth

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And we did try to fix you

Tears stream

Down your face

When you lose something you cannot replace

Tears stream

Down your face

When you lose something you can’t replace

Tears stream

 Down your face

When you lose something you cannot replace

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And we don’t have to fix you

CBXB

 

The Stupid Cardinal

When Aunt Crazy Pants was fighting her fierce battle with fucking cancer, she told family to think of her every time we saw a cardinal after she passed. I took that advice and ran – it’s the best thing of my day when I see a red bird. And somehow, it always comes at a time that I’m trying to make a decision or on the verge of a panic attack. Funny how the universe works.

See a cardinal, think of me.

My Iowa twins also took that advice and sprinted.  Announcing whenever they would see a cardinal that it was ACP.

Birds of a feather.

But Princess B, especially, took to the notion.

If you’re gonna go, go all in.

This ties to the passing of my beloved sidekick, Precious the Chug. Presh (or Pweshy as the twins called her) was always a welcomed joy to my Iowa duo. Luckily she didn’t mind getting gussied up to impress her fashion upon them when we would head up to see the twins.

All glittered up and ready to go.

A nine-hour drive never deterred this dog’s ability to behave.

World’s Greatest Traveler.

It was a maulfest as soon as we’d arrive to the Iowa palace where my twins reside.

Hands on.

The squeeze.

One of their favorite parts of seeing Presh was walking her out and around the neighborhood.

Dynamic duo dog walkers.

Princess B always had to have alone time with her fave chug.

Walk Solo.

She’d be upset when we’d leave (I mean, what’s not to miss people), and it would tug at my heart strings something fierce. A video like the one below had me wanting to pack up my rust bucket and drive non-sensibly to Iowa from Nashville.

Luckily, it was time for Dada CBXB and myself to fly our sleigh in for Christmas shortly after receiving the tearful action shot of my takes-after-me-in-the-drama-department niece.

We’re baaaaaaaaaaack!

Precious was just so pleased.

Obviously.

A look of love.
Also, a look of hate.

We continued to change outfits and make a model of my canine.

Poser.

P was even fortunate enough to ride shotgun in Princess B’s new ride.

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

And then there was Presh’s cousin, Spike, who like everyone else before him fell in love with my little Ewok.

My horse-sized dogphew.

Spike and I have always had a tight bond, being the crazy animal lover that I am, letting him love attack me whenever he deemed necessary.

Snuggle buddies.

Dance partners. I took the lead, naturally.

Once Spike laid eyes on Precious, it was L.O.V.E.

A hard, romantic comedy type of love.

He barely left her side for a second, attentively watching P’s every move.

Making sure she was properly seated for all meals.

Letting her use his new Christmas bone first.

When it was clearly meant for a dog of a much larger stature.

When Presh had enough, she would sit on her throne and watch Spike roam around the couch, anticipating her jump down.

Waiting out the horse dog.

Preshy was already a member of the family because she was basically my fur covered spawn.

She cocktailed with us.

She cheersed with us.

She watched movies with us.

She played in the snow with us.

She dried off at the kitchen bar with us.

She forcefully posed with us.

In between visits, we’d Facetime with the kids and they always needed to know what the fuck Presh was up to (along with my other four fur kids). This past March, the Prince and Princess graced Nashville with their presence and you can guess who had the pleasure of being the guest of honor.

All tucked in.

All tuckered out.

Cuddle chug.

Walk Solo round two.

When we suddenly lost Precious a month ago, there are no words for the way my heart ached (and still does). But I don’t think anyone realized how hard it would smack Princess B. The day she found out, I was ordered to send all photos and videos I had of the chug to Sister CBXB for memories.

R.I.P. Sweet P.

When she was told that one day she would see Presh again (like in 140 years when my mini me passes away and reunites with all animals she’s loved), Princess B replied, “Yeah. AS A STUPID CARDINAL.”

Oh the reasoning of kids.

Yesterday, the twins were out walking their horse dog.

Spike is more manageable now that the kids are taller.

Princess Prance.

After getting these pics, I couldn’t help but smile that they were having fun with my dogphew. Then, this text came in from Sister CBXB.

I died. I laughed. I cried. A legacy left by Aunt Crazy Pants has now lead to comfort in areas of grieving for my little loves.

Maybe Princess B doesn’t think cardinals are so stupid after all.

I sure the fuck don’t.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

The Colbert Report

Tokens of appreciation can go along way. So, too, can the tokens of absolute strangers who help make magic happen.

As many of you readers know, I lost my Aunt Crazy Pants to fucking lung cancer last September. Her son, R. Nasty became her primary caretaker and together, they watched The Late Show With Stephen Colbert every evening – in fact, it was one of the last things they ever did together.

It was also something I got to watch the last time I partied with ACP.

Colbert Time!

Ever since her passing, my sister and I had been working on how to solidify tickets for R. Nasty to attend the show. You know, kind of a way to honor his mom. Through letters and emails and contacts and friends and acquaintances of friends and husbands of wives who work at Conan O’Brien, who had a friend who writes for The Colbert Show, WE GOT TICKETS.

Don’t mind if we do!

VIP to be braggy.

While R. Nasty resides in Iowa and I am in Nashville, we decided it would be super easy to meet up at LaGuardia Airport because what could possibly go wrong? Naturally, upon my landing an hour ahead of him, I selfied the fuck out of myself and sent it to all of my friends and family.

R. Nasty and I were only two terminals away from one another, so what I thought would take hours, took mere minutes to find one another after he landed. It was the non-city slickers in us that needed aid. So I texted Rasta, the gal pal who was extremely instrumental with our VIP ticket grab, how to get an Uber in NYC. I mean, there are Ubers and Lyfts in Nashville but you walk right out of the baggage claim and BAM there is no way to fuck it up.

So Rasta guided us on how to get on the bus that would drop us off at the parking lot where an Uber we called would be waiting on us. This city shit was already hard.

But we did it!

Upon checking into the hotel (that I made R. Nasty pay for naturally, after surprising him with tickets, making him cough up cash for shit), I immediately checked on a bottle of Tennessee champagne I had packed carefully in my luggage to celebrate this momentous occasion (you guys, R.Nasty and I don’t get out much – neither of us has been to a city bigger than Chicago, k?).

Who doesn’t put champs in their suitcase?

Once we guzzled drank the champs dry, we unpacked and here’s what our bathroom counter looked like…

My accessories at the top of The Economist vs. his one accessory which was The Economist.

We decided to giddy up and check out the area – Manhattan – to be exact, which I thought would look a helluva lot fancier than it did. But I’m from Nashville, so what the fuck do I know? What I DO know is to ask for recommendations and my social media buddy, suggested a fab place called Faces and Names.

Fabulous find compliments of a fellow Captain@sgrstk – and if you don’t follow him or have never read his books, go do so right now.

We were kind of excited to be there. And when I asked R.Nasty if he was having fun, he responded with “Yeah, this is kinda fun.” To which I kindly replied – YOU WILL AND ARE HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.

Not excited. At all.

We had libations in honor of our first time in NYC, talking about ACP and just chit chatting about whatever the fuck you typically do when you are getting a bit buzzed.

Cheersed!

…and cheersed…

… aaaaaand cheersed.

So as we stumbled marched out of the bar to explore more of the block (I mean, my feet already hurt), what did before my wondering eyes did appear?

Destination Station!

Not being in the least bit full of any ounce of shame, it was selfie time.

Theater selfie fail #1.

Due to the length of my arm being about as tall as an earthworm, we had to do round two.

Theater selfie fail #2.

Satisfied with shitty selfies, we went back to the hotel room for wine and snacks in preparation for the one and most likely only day of our lives we would be VIPs.

Tidiness runs in the family. Obvies.

I must say the kink in my neck remains at my incessant gawking at all of the buildings and signs and bicyclists who give zero fucks if you are walking in their pathway. I also very narrowly missed my death about 536 times by stepping off of a cub almost too soon which would have resulted in my demise by a yellow taxi cab.

Daylight theater.

What do good tourists do when heading to their fave late show? They do as tourists do and eat at there.

The restaurant of Mr. Colbert’s choice, or so I like to think.

I also continued my unabashed selfie taking because what’s a memory without a photo?

Not a tourist at all.

R.Nasty and I sipped on cocktails and waited for our 4pm call time to stand in the VIP (I did mention we were VIPs, right?) lane at Angelo’s watching all of the little people who only had priority seating. The horror.

 

We straight up VIP, yo!

And naturally I needed to document with a selfie as well.

Yep. Proof we’re VIPs.

We also had Aunt Crazy Pants with us. Lest not forget the things all mothers and daughters bond over, tattoos – Mama CBXB and I had ACP’s signature inked onto our wrists (yes, I know we are now complete bad asses) over her first birthday weekend above us.

Lucky charm in tow.

Then it was time to enter the theater that makes me want an entrance to my mini manse in lights now.

Before I made my national television debut, the warm up comedian came out and picked on audience members. R. Nasty was beyond relieved that we were seated middle balcony but don’t worry, I was loud enough to get picked out of the crowd. As we were being interviewed, the comedian asked where we were from and if we were married. I said no, we’re cousins but since I’m from Tennessee, we could be.

Yeah, R. Nasty could have died. Of course I hated the attention and laughs.

The could be our wedding photo.

The show started and the anticipation was beyond expectation. It was super fucking cool seeing Stephen Colbert run out from behind stage left and to the crowd slapping high fives. He delivered his monologue and the guests were a very beautiful but boring Lucy Liu and an engaging Henry Winkler.

Oh and you won’t be one bit surprised that my family and friends who tuned in that evening heard me laughing more than they saw me. Only because I have the loudest laugh on the planet….and you could only see the back of my head.

No autographs please.

If there’s any take away from all of the whirlwind 36 hours I spent in NYC with R. Nasty, it’s that the experience we shared together is irreplaceable. I’ve typically lived my life as an as afterward kind of gal, a chick that just jumps in if something sounds fun and I’m so fucking glad I was able to share this with R.Nasty who deserved to get the hell outta Iowa and cut loose (side note, I needed to get the fuck out of Nashville and have some of my own fun as well).

The Infamous Iowan and the Trashy Tennessean.

So if you’re ever contemplating what you should be doing, or if you can swing that trip (hey, I packed hard-boiled eggs and protein bars – AND booze) do what Barb would do…

Love ya, mean it Aunt Crazy Pants. We all miss you something terrible but we’re living it up with you watching over us down here.

Cheers!

CBXB

 

The Big Apple Will Never Be the Same

As many of you well know, my beloved Aunt Crazy Pants passed away after a valiant fight against terminal lung cancer (after never smoking a goddamn cigarette in her life).

Crazy and Aunt Crazy Pants.

By the time cancer was found through an unrelated surgery, it had already spread everywhere but her brain and she was given six months to a year to live in June of 2016. Well, being a feisty little bitch, she survived with cancer 370 days.

Beat cancer for five extra days. Suck it.

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

Flair for fun dramatics.

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

All other Bros and Hos live far away.

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

The true meaning of ‘got your back’.

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

Wake me up before you go go!

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

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

So how can you show a small token of appreciation in return to a son who lost a friend, a mother and a fucking funny lady all rolled into one? Sister CBXB came up with a great idea, reached out to me to execute (why do I have to do all the work?) and with the help of some letter writing, reaching out to every.single.contact I have and making them reach out to every.single.contact they have, magic happened.

Don’t mind if we do.

Through the efforts of fabulous friends and the help of family, we were able to pull this shit off and I scored two VIP tickets (yeah, you read that right – VIP bitches) to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. R. Nasty and I will be gracing our small kids in the big city presence in the Big Apple next week for a taping of the show on Wednesday.

We’re coming to annoy the fuck out of you New York.

Now, I have a hard time finding the bathroom at work, so I have NO CLUE how we will manage roaming a city the size of my home state of Iowa. I’ve never been on a public city bus. I’ve never been on a subway. You’d think that I would have some skills now that I reside in Nashville but sadly, I barely know up from down let alone east from west. Blonde is hard, guys.

My navigational comfort zone.

I’m certain we will look less like city slickers and more like…

Regardless, I can’t wait to make an ass in the city as big as my ass, with R. Nasty patiently waiting out my shenanigans. Or maybe silently fuming. Either way, it’s gonna be a fabulous way to celebrate ACP’s life with a whopping side of shit show.

Cheers to the craziest fun aunt I got to call mine. We all miss you something terrible but I promise to quietly laugh my ass off at the Colbert show for you next week (after probably tripping and falling down some stairs first).

CBXB

Lucky Charm

Cinderella once sang “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”

I’m talking about the hair metal 80s band, not the princess of course.

I think we all can relate to the sentiment in one way or another. However, when it comes to peeps in my life that I love, you’re either in or out. One quality that I gratefully possess is I am never regretful of time spent with folks that I hold in my heart, nor do I take time with them for granted. That’s why for me, when you love the fuck out of someone and they no longer roam the earth, it can be a heart yanking time when their milestones still appear annually.

Aunt Crazy Pants celebrated her first birthday above on February 23, and in honor of this occasion, Mama CBXB came to Nashville and we par-tayed the only we way our family ever does. Trashtacularly.

On ACP’s actual day of birth, we took her to get her cocktail of choice, gin rickeys, at my fave local watering hole, Dalts.

A hungover day later, we went to get permanent tributes of the lady whose favorite color was green, loved shamrocks and owned one of the most unique signatures ever, which is what we were going to have tattooed on our wrists. I gussied up in my green heels I fashioned at the celebration of ACP’s life, perfected my mani to match and we were ready to go.

Naked and afraid.

While mother/daughter bonding over tattoos may seem odd to you, it’s sort of a family tradition in my clan (which should shock no one hence Jell-O shots with Gma at Christmas and Iowa Hawkeye moonshine touchdown shots are also custom family practices, well shared on this blog).

In summers of yesteryear, our families would spend Fourth of Julys at the Lake of the Ozarks. Which entailed not only in boating and booze but often tattoos and belly button piercings. Yes, yes, you read that right. I even think we made each new girlfriend of our dude cousins get belly button rings on their first Fourth with us. (A dream come true family that acts like a fraternity right here folks).

I was with ACP when she got her first ink from none other than the not even close to being world famous Tattoo Ted in the Ozarks.

We may have had one or eight drinks with sun poisoning but what did it matter?

With our history of classiness, we brought ACP along with us in spirit as Mama CBXB and I rolled into the Rebel Yell Tattoo and Social Club that came highly recommended.

When we traipsed through the doors, I’m fairly certain all four folks in the shop on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon were well aware that this wasn’t a past time in which we often partook. Especially when I wondered aloud with Justin, our extremely patient artist, how a tattoo on my wrist would look when I do jazz hands. Because I use them a lot. Like, we seriously had a five-minute conversation about it, he put a stencil on my wrist with ACP’s name facing me and let me look in a mirror before I decided how I wanted the fucking three-inch artwork done.

I mean you guys. Obvies we use them.

All.the.time.

Maybe our novice was a dead giveaway when I asked my mom 400 times in the seven minutes it took Justin to tattoo her wrist if she was going to cry when it was over (she did – Tearfest 2018).

My defense mechanism against physical pain is apparently laughing because it’s all I did the entire time my four-minute ink was being perfected. Justin kept stopping to ask if I was OK and all I could do was giggle in the most unquiet way possible.

All in all, mission accomplished.

Shortest time frame yet most annoying tattoo subject ever to grace Rebel Yell.

Getting any type of tattoo makes one a bad ass motherfucker, right?

I mean, look at my recovery plastic.

So what did these bad ass mother fuckers do? Celebrated with cocktails of course!

And it just so happened that two of ACP’s grandgirls came through Nashville that night, so we all cheersed our hearts out to the lady we love and miss.

Bittersweet without sharing the experience with ACP, there’s something ultra comforting to know she’s right here on my wrist. There have been some dark days for me recently, and I’ve found myself flipping my wrist over, admiring her signature, reminiscing on conversations, knowledge, 1,573,982,400 laughs and love we shared over her lifetime.

What I come to think of most is right after Rapegate, ACP was one of the first phone calls I received as the news made its way through my family. Her first words were, “you’re already one helluva strong lady – but you’ll be the strongest woman you know now.” The same words rang true when we found out she had terminal cancer six months later – and I repeated her words of wisdom back to her.

While cancer can go fuck itself, I’m comforted by the fact that I knew what I had with ACP before she was gone. Which is why her absence is ever present, more so now that I’m a bad ass mother fucker with a fancy signature on my wrist.

Know what you’ve got before it’s gone.

Now who wants to go get tattoo sleeves with me?

It could be the experience of your lifetime.

CBXB

One More Time, Mom

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

Beat cancer for five extra days. Suck it.

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

Gin Rickeys all around.

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

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

What I do know is:

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

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

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

Did I seriously say that?!

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

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

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

Two for me.

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

Or rather, they’re all over me.

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

Jazz hands for life.

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

Flair for fun dramatics.

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

All other Bros and Hos live far away.

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

The true meaning of ‘got your back’.

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

Wake me up before you go go!

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

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

                 

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

Yeah…I’m fucked.

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

Life already isn’t the same.

I love you.

CBXB

 

Summer Shenanigans

When I heard the grand jury decided to drop my Rapegate case against The Rapist due to lack of evidence, I was bummed – maybe more numb – to say the least. This meant that it was truly over. The criminal portion anyway. Because whether I like it or not, the aftermath of this trauma is still something that I grapple with daily – and know that I always will. But instead of staying cemented where I was upon receiving this news (on my leopard couch, with Ted on my chest naturally) I inched ahead as life proves it stops for no one.

I got this.

After finding myself jobless at the beginning of the 2017, (nothing like being the most impatient person on the planet, waiting for an excruciatingly slow criminal system with nothing but free time on my hands!) I finally landed a new gig. Hey-oh!

Think they get me? More pink please!

A positive work environment is such a welcomed change from what I’ve experienced the past two years – a bully with too much power feasting on the misery of others and a washed up, drugged out psycho who failed to wear any undergarments to work for a boss. This job is a big score for me!

With the help of family and very close friends, I stayed afloat financially – paid my rent, my car note, fed my fur balls and made a much needed trip to Iowa to see family. Less than a year ago, the Dumb to My Dumber, Aunt Crazy Pants, was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer after going in for a hip issue.

Can you tell we’re related?

While it has proven a difficult road (as cancer is nothing short of a fucking motherfucker), her attitude and determination to maintain a semblance of her normal life has shown me strength like no other. We watched my Nashville Predators hockey team comethisclose to winning the Stanley Cup together.

Who doesn’t quilt while watching sports?

We even went out and about to grace her presence at the local Mexican restaurant where she is basically a celebrity after a round of treatment.

Three amigos.

Please keep Aunt Crazy Pants in your thoughts, as she’s now under hospice care in her own home. Although, she hasn’t lost her sense of humor.

Her best “Ouiser” impression from the movie, Steel Magnolias.

While back in the Hawkeye State, I also got to see the two peeps who never cease to put a smile on this face.

Princess B was going to frolic her way through her first dance recital and I put my heavily honed make-up skills to work, as her first go-round wasn’t quite the desired outcome.

Her method.

Our shared method.

 

Sheer perfection. And she fucking knows it.

Due to the sellout of the recital, Prince B and I stayed behind for a snuggle date after a little Star Wars walkie-talkie fun.

No Princess Leia here.

Snuggle monsters.

After the babes went down that evening, the adults got into cocktails and had our own recital, reliving dance moves from show choir past.

Sis still has the moves. Obvies.

Catching up with two of my Iowa gal pals it felt like I’d just seen them the week prior, when I hadn’t seen them in a few years. Isn’t that the best feeling?

Fresh start to the evening.

Guess which one of us has our shit together?

Margaritas with mom rounded out my trip before I headed back below the Mason Dixon Line.

In between trying to figure out my headset attached to my work phone…

You guys, seriously. How does Britney Spears do it?

…and lounging weekends away at the pool…

Bring Your Own Boxed Wine,

…the cat cuddling has been heavy-duty.

Spending the majority of the Fourth inside due to rain didn’t quash my celebratory spirit in the slightest.

Red, white and shoes!

With a little red, white and booze.

However, up in Iowa, the spirits weren’t as joyful.

The Nashville weather even cleared up enough for our small trio to head up to the pool, guzzle some cocktails, order a pizza and watch the largest display of fireworks in the nation from a distance.

Keeping it classy!

Back at it after a holiday, I still can’t figure my fucking headset out.

Being blonde is hard.

But it’s nothing a cocktail and a bubble bath can’t fix.

Cheers to the second half of summer!

CBXB