Lights Will Guide You Home

It’s fucking insane that my kick ass Aunt Crazy Pants has been partying up above for over 1,000 days now. Today, it is three years since she went to bicker with her mother up above (They seriously used to keep track of who called who last – and reported it to me every time I spoke to either one of them. Thinking about it now, I should have just conducted a three-way call and then they would have been even.)

Oh, no shit? Did you know the phone works both ways?!

I still forget and go to pick up my cell to text or call and then remember I can only communicate via the red bird, a cardinal.  I think about ACP every day (I mean, I do have her signature tattooed on my wrist) but I especially think about her during my beloved Iowa State Fair, which typically takes place for ten days every August (but thanks to that bitch Rona, it was canceled this year).

Giant tenderloin time.

After my folks moved to Nashville, ACP would always be my state fair side kick unabashedly wearing fucking Crocs (so-called “shoes” that I hate with a passion) on her feet while she humored me on my yearly 12 hour day of fair festivities (present when the cannon goes off at 8am until the fireworks boom after the nightly concert at the Grandstand).

She also poured water over her head when she was hot. I think she wore a white top on purpose.

I haven’t been back to the Iowa State Fair since ACP passed and it will be bittersweet when I get to go again.

Corn dog round four, waiting on the fireworks.

But she relayed the torch to R. Nasty who was keen to accompany ACP and me to the fair in past years even though it was most likely the worst days of his life. Now, he gets me all to himself as I force him to eat everything in sight, ride the death traps carnies assemble (although they took the double Ferris wheel away and I AM NOT OK WITH IT), and visit every.single.livestock barn.

Two peas in a forced fair pod.

I’ve really been missing her beyond lately. She was my second mom.

Obvies.

It’s comforting to a degree knowing that she’s with her folks, other family members, and all of my furballs (who are most likely mauling her) that passed before ACP. While our family celebrates her life while we’re still living, it doesn’t make the void any less painful.

Five Hussies. One photo booth. What could go wrong?

I miss the cards she used to mail me. I miss her texts that made no fucking sense (so I’d end up having to call her anyway to find out what the fuck she was talking about which may have been her plan all along). I miss her not giving one fucking thought to what came out of her mouth before she said it aloud.

Oh my fucking Gawd. Did you really say that?!

I miss cheering her up on what she called her ‘blue’ days. I miss having her to call when I’m having ‘blue’ days. I miss making her laugh until she pissed her pants (super easy). I miss her Christmas Village she set up every year that was literally the size of a small town. I miss laughing my ass off with and at her.

Whenever I hear the song “Fix You” by Coldplay from their X&Y album, I think of ACP and the fucking cancer that stole her life waaaaaaaaay too soon (the chicks on her side of the family easily live to at least 90 years young. This means I’m going to need a helluva lotta Botox). If you haven’t heard the song or need a refresher, stop what you’re doing and go listen to it or click on the highlighted Fix You words above for a link to the video. I’ve always loved the song but it’s taken on a new meaning for me since ACP passed.

We miss you.

When she received her unfuckingfair diagnosis, her peeps rallied and while we couldn’t fix or take the pain away from her, we could provide happy experiences for her remaining time and memories for her to leave with us. She tried her best to stay as long as she could here because she was insanely in love with her kids, grandkids, family, friends and was at a point in life where she was positively starting over.

Positive pants.

In honor of Aunt Crazy Pants, turn your radio (or really these days, your iPhone) up, raise those gin rickeys 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

Love you Aunt Nancy.

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!

Badass Family Therapy

I’m in the middle of EMDR therapy and it’s hard.as.fuck.

My family is joining me in this therapy ride, whether they like (or know) it or not.

Cry Baby

Thoughts on therapy.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. It’s often used to treat trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which I’ve had for over three years thanks to Rapegate.

This poop emoji raft really “gets” me. I want to float on it every Thursday after therapy.

PTSD doesn’t necessarily last forever – but it can linger. It’s just the fucking hardest thing to describe a disorder that is invisible. It’s like having a ghost live within you and it comes out to haunt your body where its housed anytime it motherfucking pleases. Just like no two rapes are the same, no two pregnancies are the same, no two diagnosis of PTSD are the same.

I need a tank that reads “Surprise! It’s PTSD!”

So, there are obviously different treatment approaches depending on the person, the therapist, the situation. I started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Rationally, I knew it wasn’t my fault I was raped. But I could not help but feel that I let it happen to me. I was my own worst enemy, standing in the way of my recovery process due to my black and white thinking. I still wrestle with this after three years of therapy but CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. Coping mechanisms are put into place and for me, mine is – ‘would you talk to a friend like this?’ Fuck no I wouldn’t, so quit talking to yourself this way.

We can be our own worst enemy.  CBT helps anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations.

Jazz hands also help.

Starting EMDR with my therapist, Superhero Sheila, I was told to think of a happy, relaxing, real life place. Somewhere I’ve experienced first hand, where I felt safe. It took me a minute but I thought about water. I thought about laughing. I thought about what I loved in my life. Maybe it’s the time of year, but my safe place is memories of time spent at the Lake of the Ozarks with my family every Fourth of July.

Family

Clan

We kinda had some fun there over the years.

From wapatoolies, to aqua bars, to tattoos, to boys against girls Trivial Pursuit games (pretty sure the chicks won more), I can envision this place and be at ease. Hearing the boat motors, my family’s belly laughing, smelling the lake water, my uncle ‘washing’ his hair in the lake (true Griswolds move right here), the relentless teasing, remembering my sister getting hit in the face with a can of Budweiser thrown from the boat to the water (ah, memories).

Aqua Bar

Aqua bar doubling as a life saving device.

Tattoo

Tattoo Ted performing his kind of adequate skills on Aunt Crazy Pants.

Winners!

Trivial Pursuit Chicks rule. Dudes drool.

The first thing for me to tackle in EMDR was the exit off of the interstate which leads to the house where I was raped. My ex friend’s house. I pass by that exit almost every day. And every.single.time I think, “oh, that leads to Ex Friend’s house where I was raped.” It doesn’t ruin my day. I don’t ruminate over it. But it’s a thought that pops in my head and can causes anxiety that sometimes spills into my daily life.

To tackle this, Superhero Sheila hands me a device with two knobs – one for each hand. They vibrate, alternating, then at the same time, then alternating, using both your right and left sides of the brain to re-train your thoughts.

“Close your eyes.”

“You’re driving on Interstate I40, coming up to the exit. You see it through the windshield.”

*feel pang in my stomach, think of safe place*

Driving a boat at Lake of the Ozarks.

Party Chick

“You are getting closer to the exit, what are you feeling.”

*pang in belly, think of safe place*

Oh hello boozy party cove.

Party Girl

“Are you going to pass the exit or get off?”

*if I get off here now in my thoughts, it will take me to the place where I was raped…think of safe place*

Laughing with family.

Cousins

All day laughing with family.

The Griswolds

Family laughing all day with help from Jell-O shots…

Jell-O

…and whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

“You are going to pass by the exit. What are you thinking?”

*why are there tears starting to roll down my face..stop it…think happy place*

Lake of the Ozark patio karaoke nights.

Mic Fight

With a microphone hog.

Karoake King

 “Are you OK? Do you want to keep going?”

*yes…even though a river of snot is now accompanying the stream of tears down my neck*

“Take a deep breath in. Take a deep breath out. Think of your safe place.”

After boating pool dunks while our moms fixed supper.

Dunk

“You’re now passing the exit. You’re past the exit. Take inventory of your body. Do you feel anxiety anywhere?”

*a small pang remains in my stomach but it doesn’t ache*

“How do you want to feel?”

*more tears, happy place, happy place*

Drunken dancers around a hunk.

Hunk

*I want to stay afloat, I don’t want to cry, where’s the goddamned aqua bar when I need it*

Floater

 “Deep breath in, deep breath out. How do you want to feel – how do you see yourself?”

I see me cooling off with a refreshing beverage.

Beerpoo

“How do you see yourself?”

*I’m strong but I’m crying*

“You are not alone. Emotions don’t equate weakness. Feel them. Sit with them. Think about your happy place.”

Better together.

Muscles

*I feel strong. I feel like a badass. I am a badass*

“Know that this exit, this representation has a beginning, a middle and an end. You’re OK. How do you feel?”

*I feel…better…no dull ache in my body but what do I do when I drive by the exit…fucking christ, how will I feel then…*

“You will go to your secure place. You will use your coping tools. Now open your eyes. How do you feel?”

I feel safe. I feel happy.

Fam

Therapy of any kind is fucking hard. The interstate exit is the smallest of my issues that root in my Rapegate anxiety but, as with anything, sticking to it is a gigantic key to my recovery process. No matter how much I want to quit. No matter how many fucking tears I shed. No matter what. It’s my key to carrying on.

Here’s hoping you have a secure and favorable place to go in your mind, whenever you need.

Be your own badass – with as much help as you need. Thanks to my own version of the Griswolds family, I am…how bad can that be?!

Happy Fourth!

CBXB

CBXB!

The Birthday Legend

Oh dads.

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

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

BOY BYE.

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

A father who not only duct taped my glasses together in the third grade (hence the short-lived nickname “Ducky” by the oh-so-sweet fellow 4th graders) but also uses the same magic to keep my bumper adhered to your car as an “adult”.

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

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

Celebrating the Big Fella today, please join me as I share some of the valuable…

LESSONS FROM MY LEGEND


Image 90

You should always have your family’s back…

bl

       … even if they often attack.

Throw your hands up in the air…

wave

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

Even if you’re a dork inside…

...without my shades.

                                              

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

The art of muscle blowing is unique.

blow

                       Passed down to generations…

and

                                              … and generations …

still

…to upkeep.

Pink isn’t just for girls…

flex

…guys often put the color on for a whirl.

Sequins should be in my everyday attire…

love

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

It’s OK to stand out in a crowd…

Dada C-Note

…just be sure to do it loud and proud.

Giving is better than receiving…

Image 91

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

The importance of slathering on sunscreen daily…

very

   …just be sure to not get too crazy.

The significance of jazz hands…

was

…often help when making demands.

It’s not a road trip…

check

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

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

fish

           …especially whenever a boy has been mean to me.

Being the life of the party…

never

                                          …is like leading one big…

…fun army.

The duo that shoots shots together…

Wild Turkey

Image 11

Stays together.

…stays together.

It’s important to share…

at the

…even while pigging out at the Iowa State Fair.

It’s OK to relax…

after

…after a day has been crap.

You’ve carried me through physical hard times…

broken foot

         

broken ankle

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

Tipping my Skinny Pirates when my nails are drying…

treat

                         

…because you know there’s a silver lining.

Most importantly, not all heroes wear capes…

Not all

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

So let us all raise our glasses today…

cheers!

…and cheers your birthday away!

Those are just a few of my lessons from…

happy

 The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

Happy Birthday Dada!

Join the twins in a sing-a-long to Coo Coo…

(of course we do not have normal monikers such as Grandpa in my classy family)

We love you.

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Best Day of My Life…and Then Some

Due to the current football season underway, we were encouraged to decorate our work spaces with items showing off our #1 team last week. Per usual, I went with subtlety.

Just me, over here in my Hawkeye sequins jersey.

Overboard much?

I hate the Iowa Hawkeyes, obvies.

On Friday, we had a pot luck BBQ and there were raffle prizes to be distributed. When it was said that we were having a few “special guests” help draw the raffle names, my interest was beyond piqued. Then, in skipped two Tennessee Titans cheerleaders, which was pretty cool. As they were getting ready to draw the first prize, it was announced that there was one more special guest. My stomach dropped. I was thinking please don’t be the new head coach Mike Vrabel, please don’t let it be the quarterback Marcus Mariota, but pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease let it be my T-Rac. The official mascot of the Tennessee Titans.

See, I have a thing for mascots. You know, those fur coated creatures that accompany my fave sports teams. It sure as shit was my lucky day.

In waltzed T-Rac. My face went red, I screamed like a girl seeing The Beatles on the 1964 Ed fucking Sullivan show, and about broke my metal folding chair pumping up and down on my plump rump. With my heart racing, the cheerleaders started drawing names for raffle winners. T-Rac was the one distributing the awards and I had to get my hands on him. The final prize of the day – a $100 gift card and commemorative Titans glass was on the line. The blonde beauty drew that last ticket and….said MY NAME.

I reacted with real class.

I jumped like a fat rabbit up to get my prize while giddily giggle screaming the entire way.

HUG ME ALREADY.

In the span of 25 seconds, I managed to make a gigantic ass hat of myself in front of my entire office. I also managed to not only maul T-Rac but told him that I loved him AND announced that this was the best day of my life. It wasn’t even noon on a Friday yet.

 

Afterward, the gentlemanly raccoon and his cheering sidekicks stayed to graciously take pics with the peeps.

Four’s a crowd.

demanded asked the hot mammas to please move over and allow me a solo photo with my main plush squeeze.

Move over bitches. He’s all mine.

On top of being in the arms of a giant stuffed animal, my life was absolutely complete when I made my debut on T-Rac’s social media page as the inaugural “Fan of the day”.  Of course I turned right around and added it to my Instagram.

Stand by for our “Save the Date” wedding invites.

How could this day get any more exciting?

An email went out announcing free cans of wine in the breakroom. I had to steady myself as I sprinted down the hallway to hoard the loot.

Mine all mine – now safely in my fridge and damn good.

My adrenaline was pumping pretty high, so I was excited I had plans to celebrate one of my nearest and dearest gal pal’s birthday after work.

Birthday girl sandwich.

I could hardly go to sleep since I had such a positive karma filled day. Luckily, Ruby Sue was wide-eyed with me.

Too excited to sleep.

With it being a balmy 90 degrees on Saturday, I hauled ass to the pool, trying to make summer last.

Saturday sun soak.

While I was hoping Saturday wasn’t the last hurrah in the sun, my Iowa twins were up and at ’em with a clever activity. They put coins in pans to freeze overnight.

Different version of Frozen.

They had to break the ice open, count the coins and exchange them for dollar bills from their parents.

Big money for Prince B.

Princess B headed straight to the Dollar Tree.

Saturday night my Hawkeyes played and I headed out to Dada CBXB’s to get the tailgate going.

Who doesn’t love boxed wine and wings?

Positions assumed.

The kitty didn’t stay cozy for long, as Iowa scored five touchdowns. You know what that means…

Five Family Tradition winning shots, baby.

Easily soaked up the next morning by my omelette making father.

What shots?

Being back in the maniac celebrate-everything-for-fun-life mode again, I started decorating for Halloween all day Sunday. My fabulous Fabio could have given two shits about my hard work, turning the mini manse into a haunted fortress.

As I was going back and forth to fetch my Halloween bins from my car, it was raining lightly. When I looked up in the sky, there was a full on rainbow. I seriously considered getting in my rust bucket and searching for the end, hoping for a pot of gold.

For like, a full five minutes.

I mean, I had fab karma going on.

Instead of looking for lost treasure, I plopped down in my tub for a soak and a People magazine read (side note – I get Meghan Markle is now a princess from America and all but if I wanted to read about the Royals every week, I’d move to fucking England).

Then it was time for a snuggle down on the leopard couch with my new fall scented candles.

No better way to wind down after an exhaustingly excitement filled 48 hours. Amiright?

Here’s hoping your mascot equivalent finds you this week.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!