Chasing Happiness

Attempting to retrieve happiness and joy in the aftermath of trauma often seems in vain.

But it’s not.

Please consider this a trigger warning, as well as an uncomfortable but important story I will forever continue to share. MINE.

In those desperate times after trauma, we become experts in subject matter in which we never wished to be associated.

If you know me, follow me on social media, or read this blog on a regular basis, it’s no secret to you that I am a survivor of rape. In that one act of power over another person, my life changed in a split second – like so many of our lives do.

In an instant, I was split into two.

Life as I knew it – my regular happy, filled with normal drama, surrounded by friends, and my hilarious sense of self was paused with such immediacy, I believe my body cocooned me the best way it could.

A pause that sometimes still feels permanent.

Disassociation from the body is an adaptive response to trauma. It doesn’t mean I don’t remember the exact feeling of waking up with an uninvited human inside of me. It doesn’t mean I don’t remember laying on that couch, waiting for the light to shine through the living room window to get the fuck out. It doesn’t mean I don’t remember my sister saying “fuck her” when I was on the phone, worried about telling my best friend that her boyfriend raped me. It doesn’t mean I don’t remember saying over and over and over “I can’t believe this happened to me” when my dad was taking me to the first of two ER trips that next day. It doesn’t mean I forgot how sharp the blade was when my best friend’s first response to the news was, “did you finish?”

For me, the aftermath of Rapegate is one that I will grapple with daily for the rest of my life. While you may think that time heals all wounds (bullshit in my book), the aftermath to my mind, body and soul ebbs and flows like heavy fog in a forest. I’ve learned over the last three years that past trauma can mean not feeling fully alive in the present. The body remembers.

Would the gleam and beam ever return?

I couldn’t help in the seconds, minutes, days, months, years since January 29, 2016 if I will I ever feel happiness again. Or will it be something that I forever chase?

The thing is, the finality of rape is like death in a way. My life as I knew it before was gone forever. The person I was before was gone forever. What innocence (don’t laugh) I had left was gone forever. I am still grieving the life and person I was before Rapegate. Nostalgia can seep into a pore of my skin so quickly and quietly, it feels like the Grim Reaper is trying to take over my soul.

Hours after reporting my rape to the police, I sat in an ER with a dead phone, my dad in the waiting room and a nurse practitioner guiding me through a rape exam. Then, question after question after question that seemed so important kept being asked and my brain was on auto pilot. Did he use a condom? Do you want to take the anti HIV pill? If so, it will be a horrible experience for the next 30 days. Do you want the Plan B pill? Here’s a handful of antibiotics to ward off any STDs that could have been transmitted to you. What do you want?

Somebody tell me what to do. Nobody could.

I sat there, gulping down medication after mediation on an empty stomach. I took all the pills. I took the Plan B pill.

Against abortion? Then you can carry my rapist’s baby if I get pregnant, thanks.

As my body started to recover from shock, I was diagnosed with PTSD, which I truly thought only applied to military veterans who’ve seen and endured horror far beyond. But this was my own personal, close up, front seated horror beyond.

For follow-up appointments (you know, to make sure I hadn’t contracted HIV or any other disease that can take time to manifest in the body), I had the choice to visit the hospital where my rape kit was performed for free but thankfully, because I had private health care, I was able to see my gynecologist. The first object I saw when I started to walk toward my doctor’s office for my first post rape appointment was a truck that read “Shane’s Trucking.” Shane was my rapist’s name.

Fuck off universe.

The meds I take have had side effects of brain fog (which coupled with blonde brain is a triple shit show), dizziness (like I needed any more help being a fucking klutz), and weight gain (oh the welcomed happiness of gaining 40 lbs – mostly in my belly because of cortisol levels being out-of-whack).

One of 4,713 battle wounds on my already klutzy before Rapegate body.

Being a victim of rape causes embarrassment, shame, feeling dirty, like somehow it’s your fault. Would I ever have the strut in my step, the confidence of a queen and the ability to simply see the joy in life again? This period of recovery wasn’t dark. It was black.

Did I deserve it? Why did I “allow” it to happen? It’s all my fault, right?

And, I have absolutely, 100% felt the self wrath, the aftermath, the internal tornado, the tsunami of emotions that surge whenever the fuck they feel like it and eruption of tears, hotly flowing down my face, onto my chin, into my shirt (accompanied with a river of snot and lemme tell ya, it’s a doozie of a look).

Innocent questions from others can seem like accusations to victims. What were you wearing? Had you been drinking? Why didn’t you scream? Why were you there? How come you didn’t go home? These questions were all asked of me by the Nashville Sex Crimes Detective after my body was violated by a man’s dick. Keeping up with my detective was one of the hardest parts of my recovery. Once she was done interviewing me the day of my rape, she said she would be in touch. Then a week went by. Then another. I finally reached out and got this response…

The constant state of keeping up with my case provided superb evidence as to reason 4,618,599 why rape victims don’t come forward. Or come forward to then drop charges. It’s exhausting. Exhausting. EXHAUSTING.

Me. Every day the last three years.

The most important thing for anyone to learn when supporting a rape victim is believing them.

pc: @makesdaisychains

Because victims who become survivors of rape, already question themselves endlessly, the damage done by friends, family and strangers’ judgement can be severe. I am a walking, talking, rape stereotype. I wasn’t believed by those closest to the case. My detective said it was a he said/she said since the Shane the Rapist said it was consensual sex. My best friend believed her boyfriend over me.

In between being raped and the year and a half it took to close the case, where Shane the Rapist walks freely out and about, it would be insane not to think someone might go insane. I don’t think he ever even knew he was in the hot seat until my detective reached out to interview him NINE MONTHS after the day I was raped.

It’s improbable that someone can experience any kind of trauma or loss (death, divorce, career, disease, disorder, assault, etc) without consequence to them.

The best face I can muster some days.

For me, this is where my once stable strength of fuck off confidence got lost in the swirl of circling the drain. Would it ever be back?

The emotional, mental, and physical tolls sometime feel beyond debilitating. Combine that with life – which most certainly goes on around you – and it can make the most mundane tasks like making your bed seem like winning an Olympic gold medal if you ever get around to completing the job. I can still sometimes barely muster the courage energy to get out of bed, brush my teeth and wash my hair.

I made my bed. Where’s my accolades?

And the usual worries of life are still abound while grappling with sometimes crippling days. Money worries. Hoping your car doesn’t crap out on your worries. Can my cell phone hang on for another year? Are my friends and family OK? Am I paying enough attention to them? Do they think I’m ignoring them? Did anyone see me crying at work? Am I going to be punished for leaving early for therapy even though my boss already said OK?  See how this shit can snowball?

Avalanche.

Now more than ever, I feel it’s important to speak up if you can about what can sometimes seem like taboo subjects. I was raped. Think that’s fun topic to bring up to new people? “Oh hi, my name is Captain, I’ll have a Skinny Pirate please, I was raped, how are you?” Of course this doesn’t come up immediately but still, I talk about Rapegate, and if we’re gonna be friends, it’s gonna come out.

Did I scare you off?

Taboo also is this fucking stigma that comes along with mental illnesses. I have PTSD (along a myriad of other lovely conditions). When I was looking for a new job after Rapegate, I had to put down on applications whether or not I had PTSD. Now it’s considered a disability. So, OK it’s a disability. I’m dealing with it the best that I can but do I need to reveal that to a potential employer? Yes, I have had panic attacks silently at work in bathroom stalls and in my car but I’m still showing up and doing my job (although my panic attacks always end with me throwing up, so that’s fun to do out of my car window while attempting not to get vomit on my work attire).

And some days are dark. Like calm before storm, clouds rolling in, so quiet it may just drive you mad blackout dark. I think about the passing of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, both of whom reportedly took their own lives within two days of one another last year. Both had loved ones, both were celebrated among their professional communities, both had achieved success in different fashions and both had children. So much to leave behind.

But can you even imagine the pain they must have been in to think that their only way out was to “unburden” those around them? That’s really scary to me. Because I’ve often felt like a burden to my family and close friends. Over the past five years, I’ve experienced loss and grief and change beyond my imagination and while I am learning to cope in therapy, I still feel like I’m so needy. “Can I borrow $20 until payday (while swallowing pride for 1,976,000 time)? I can’t go out because I am on a spending freeze (you know those handfuls of pills and doctor follow-ups aren’t free. I’m beyond lucky to have health insurance with co-pays). I just had a panic attack, so I’m going to have to miss your birthday celebration. I am going to stay in because I can’t fathom the thought of getting out of bed.” Mostly, I keep these emotions to myself but I still feel like one motherfucker of a burden.

I. just. can’t.

Will I ever feel like I’m not a burden?

It’s easy for people to say that suicide is selfish. I can see why one would say that but if you haven’t ever grappled with your own dark demons that sometimes you push deep down inside of you, or think they’re gone, only to have them pop up and taunt you over and over and over again – it’s not easy. Mental issues are a lonely, isolating experience of despair. I think this is often in part because not a lot of folks talk about their mental health and share stories from their lives.

pc: @makedaisychains

How others see me.                                           How I feel inside.

My darkest times since Rapegate (and everything else that has occurred in between), have never eluded me to think about ending my life. However, have I been in a place where I wished my eyes wouldn’t open in the morning because it seemed easier than fighting the anguish of deep depression? Yep. Has my chest been so heavy that I thought my heart was going to burst out of it Indiana Jones style because it could bear no more loss or grief, physically hurting? Fuck yes. Do I hit my snooze button 3,719,003 times in the morning (even though I have been up for three hours already) because the thought of putting makeup on and gussying up for work and putting on a “happy” face seems like too much to bear. Damn skippy.

Hi there. I’m getting pretty fucking sick of these feelings popping up whenever they fucking feel like it. Byeee.

That all being said, it’s not uncommon for someone to have these types of thoughts once or more in their lifetime. Some people do shoot sunshine out of their assholes (fuck, until three years ago, I was one of them) but more often than not, it’s a combination of rain, sun, sleet and hail as we trudge through life. On top of all this, I always see the suicide hotline phone number accompanying every death by suicide story. You know that is fucking great, but you know what’s hard? Reaching out when you need help. And let me say this – if you offer to help someone in any way and they reach out, for the love of God, do NOT shut them down. It’s already exceedingly hard to admit you need help.

How can you help someone that may not even be suicidal but just really down in the fucking dumps? Tend to them the best way you know how – if they are typically social, try to get them out of the house. If they aren’t up to it, stay in and binge watch some TV. Or go on a walk. Just don’t ignore them. Don’t give up on them. Don’t stop inviting them places because they always say no. Be persistent.

You can also help by researching options with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I have friends who would greatly benefit from therapy but haven’t been able to find the correct place. I’ve called this number before, searching for answers when someone was in need. In the research I have done around Nashville, there are places that offer sliding scaled payments for those who don’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover mental health (so fucked up). However, like in many other situations, the persons who need the help must be willing to go for themselves, not for anyone else. So if they refuse or keep handing you excuses, just do your best to listen.

My mental journey in the aftermath of Rapegate has been eye-opening. I’ve been so self deprecating to the point that I star in my own version of Mean Girls in my head some days.

Regina George, get the fuck outta my head.

However, I luckily have a solid circle of support. A very large sparkly army that isn’t confined to face-to-face relationships. My circle has expanded as I’ve talked about my struggles. The support system I have now extends from Nashville, to Iowa, to California, to England, to Italy, to Australia…and more. The “checking on you” voicemails, direct messages through social media, “thinking of you texts” to words of encouragement in my comment section, random gifts showing up in my mailbox, snail mailed letters, a cashier’s check just because…Every word, every action, matters.

This is what you do for me.

Moments of happiness and real, solid feelings of joy have burst back into my life more slowly over the past few years. Some moments of smiles are more fleeting than others but regardless, I’m proud as fuck of myself for sticking with therapy, shamelessly taking the medications I need to cope and move through life without becoming a victim of my own personal version of the Titanic.

Celebrating is still in my DNA.

Those struggling the most are sometimes people who you’d least expect. One smile can go miles – and it’s a universal language (as fucking cheesy as that sounds). A small compliment can turn a day around. An out of the blue “how are you” text can save a major cry session. Check on each other. Love on each other. Hug on each other. Raise some hell with each other.

Know that if you’re experiencing grief of any kind, it’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to not be OK. Two steps forward, one step back is still progress even though I want to leap 10 feet at a time. It’s a constant job to mentally remind myself to be kind to myself.

While there’s been more dark than light the last three years, the chase for happiness and healing has seemed less and less like a daily marathon. There’s now room for bright light and hope. I’ve been a victim. I am a survivor. I will be a thriver the rest of my life.

I’m right here if you need any help chasing your own happiness.

Thank you for helping me find mine again.

Love ya, mean it.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

Weekend Winks – Smiles for Miles

There’s something about Memorial Day that makes it feel like summer has arrived. This past holiday weekend was no different. Van Waffles and I kicked off the fun with brunch at The Sutler that serves bottomless mimosas for $17. I’m sure I ruined that fabulous deal for everyone after my guzzling appearance.

I was more excited about the mimosas. Clearly.

One large group of tourists ordered four rounds of 16 shots while we were there. Four rounds of 16 shots. I can only imagine that their total bill was roughly about what I pay for rent monthly, as they were all having mimosas and food.

My Iowa twins are officially first graders! They celebrated their year in kindergarten by taking a mini vacay to Chicago.

Just a scosh excited about school being out.

Long legs in the Windy City.

Ice cream dreams.

Sometimes you forget the excitement about experiencing something for the first time. Smiles for miles about their first ride in a taxi.

It’s the little things.

Princess B got to go to the American Girl Doll store (which is apparently a rite of passage for kids when visiting Michigan Avenue). Instead of selecting a doll, she opted for a puppy which made my heart just about burst.

Mini me.

Sister CBXB was keeping me updated on the dog shopping and I about died when I received the following message.

Remind you of anyone?

Wonder where she gets it.

A very fancy piece of art was commissioned during the vacay.

Along with a fabulous view.

The fam made it back to Iowa in time for Princess B to attend her last dance class of the year.

Dancing Queen.

Speaking of last classes, I partied it up in honor of VooDoo’s baby girl who is all grown up and now a graduate.

A fabulous future lies ahead.

This was also a bon voyage party for VooDoo who is moving to Alabama in two weeks. Bittersweet but so thrilled for her new adventure.

VooDoo, Boob, First Mate and the Captain.

Because we never have any fun when we’re together, our selfie game got a little sideways. First Mate’s arms lack the length to get more than one face in the frame.

That’s Boob in the way back.

Problem solving skills get better the more booze you consume so when it was time to open the wine with no opener, another genius party goer had the best solution ever. A screw and screwdriver got us thirsty gals our vino.

Red neck wine opener.

Due to the holiday, it was important that we stocked up on libations Sunday evening on the way home from VooDoo’s partay. Although the Nashville Predators failed to make the Stanley Cup this year, the swag was still out and we took full advantage of it for photo ops.

Helmet heads.

Van Waffles was kind enough to carry our loot.

I found the purrfect liquor in which I should be the spokeswoman.

My new favorite shot.

Speaking of cats, The Pussy Posse was in full relaxation mode this weekend. Fabio helped me eat leftovers taking up space in the fridge.

Do leftovers make my body look big?

Ruby Sue lived up to her nickname Thundercunt. She tried to commit suicide by constantly walking my porch railing, she enjoyed scaring the shit our of me while opening and slamming cupboard doors, and tried to suffocate herself in a plastic bag more than once.

Who could stay made at that face?

Scooch is taking cues from Elsa Pants (who can’t make an appearance on this week’s blog because she won’t sit still long enough for me to get a photo of her) and runs like a mad man is chasing him whenever I try to pet him. Poor thing.

Rocky just wanted to sleep and loves to lay on my arm while doing so. He just couldn’t because I had a dry cough that kept him from getting his normal 22 hours of shut eye.

Annoyed.

While we were all in relaxation mode, the weather was really making the rounds. Iowa City West High School students had to take cover at their graduation due to an EF-1 tornado. Thankfully no fatalities have been reported.

No Digity texted me from Vail where it was fucking snowing. At the end of May.

Colorado vs. Tennessee

Winding down after a full weekend ended the way it always does for me. In bubbles.

The purrfect ending.

Here’s hoping your start to summer made you smile.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Hometown Tourist

You’d think with all of the belly aching I do regarding Nashville’s ever growing population that I hate it here in Music City. That’s not true though – I love this city. I just wish other people loved it the way I loved it instead of moving here and trying my once (and still to some) mini city on for size for a few years before moving on to bigger and better.

OMG. Stop moving here. You are driving me to drink.

The job market is oversaturated, gentrification is becoming a serious side of living here (especially if your income is a single lady living on her own – cannot imagine what it’s like for families), high rises have already murdered the once charming Music Row, First Mate can count 18 cranes (she calls them sky birds and for the record, she’s totally fine with the havoc wreaking taking place) from her downtown office, every.single.fucking. bro country “music” artist has a bar in the once quaint downtown (from Florida Georgia Line to Blake Shelton to Jason Aldean). My once gem of a city is turning into a bonafuckingfide bigger Branson, Missouri, right in front of my peepers.

https://cowboysandcrossbones.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/image2.jpg

Country. When country wasn’t cool.

I digress.

When pals come to town, it’s always been fun playing tourist in my own city. Due to the massive growth the last few years, I haven’t taken advantage of seeing Nashville through the eyes of others lately (and because if one more fucking to-be bride drunkenly steps on my foot, I might lose my goddamn mind and kick her Taylor Swift wearing cowboy boots with skirt outfit circa 2015 to the fucking state line).

There’s enough crazy in town already, bachelorettes.

This past weekend, my college bestie, Tdawg was in town to get her giddy up on with some of her gal pals from Denver.

It was the group’s first time in Nashville and I threw caution to the wind, swallowed $40 for two hour parking (you parking lot people are seriously horrible human beings), and trotted my ample ass down to the swanky hotel on Friday and met the crew at the rooftop bar.

Gorgeous lobby.

Intricate ceilings.

Most importantly, the bar.

The views from this spot did not disappoint.

Three ladies and an asshole.

Because I must always be up to no good, I was more than happy to oblige photo requests.

Oh. Just you three in it? Sorry. Not sorry.

They had supper reservations Friday night and I promised (after she forced me to call the studio by literally holding the phone up to my ear to make an appointment while I guzzled rosé at the bar) Tdawg I’d meet her on Saturday morning for an exercise class at Pure Barre. If you wonder who the fuck works out on a two day vacation, look no further than Tdawg. I have enough trouble sweating in my own city, let alone when I’m traveling.

Unless I’m visiting Yoga Barbie in Denver, I DO NOT workout on vacay.

Needless to say, I overslept and missed the fucking class. It ended up being OK thought because Tdawg was overserved the evening prior and spent the next several hours in her dreamy hotel bed. But she was up and at ’em for the evening and after supper, I took the gals to my fave honky tonk on the planet – Robert’s Western World to see my fave country band on the planet – The Don Kelley Band.

Recovered.

I used to frequent Robert’s so much before the besiege of tourists take over every summer, the last time I was there, Don Kelley said to me, “you don’t get out much, do you?” while I was dancing for the 4,812,654 time in front of him.

You AGAIN?!

Usually, on a Saturday night at 8:30 it’s already asses to elbows on Broadway and it was no different when we were frolicking about downtown. However, luck was on our side and when we galloped into Robert’s, there was an open booth at the front of the bar waiting for our rear ends. This kind of magic hasn’t happened since 2014.

Yeehaws all around.

Tawg was beyond impressed with the twang and spent most of her time at Robert’s on one of many devices.

 

The owner of Robert’s, JesseLee Jones, is the leader of the house band, Brazilbilly. They play every Saturday night from 10pm – 2am. In all of my years going to Robert’s, every single Saturday night, his mom comes and watches his show. Every. single. time. She sits in the same spot and drinks either coffee or Red Bull. It’s the fucking cutest thing ever.

Mama Jones.

Tdawg called it an early night but No Digity, MoHo and yours truly stayed to see The Don Kelley Band’s famous rendition of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”

We didn’t hate it.

Upon returning to the Noelle Hotel, I tried to fill Tdawg in on what she missed.

No pillow talk for me.

The ladies had to get up at the first sign of the sun to catch their 8am flight. Meanwhile, I was able to get some much needed beauty sleep in a quiet, cool, dark hotel room.

Not so sleeping beauty.

When my lids decided to fling open, I realized that this place was a whole lot fancier than the Holiday Inns in which I’ve grown accustomed.

 

This mastery was just a reach beside the bed and I honestly don’t know how much longer I can live without one.

Controls for the entire room.

 

Parched after my previous evening’s boozefest, I sauntered out of the room to get some water and didn’t know how many choices there were when it came to H2O.

 

I couldn’t figure out where the ice machine was until I saw what looked like a fancy refrigerator drawer below the water.

 

I would have taken some ice packages if I had a bigger purse with me. Because, I’m nothing if not white trashiness at its finest.

Speaking of finest, what about my departing outfit from the fancy Noelle Hotel?

 

I looked like I was a hot mess because I was a hot fucking mess. No Digity gifted me a Robert’s Western World t-shirt that I refused to take off. When I went to retrieve my car from the valet, the dude asked me where I was heading home to (since I looked like a confused, hungover bachelorette from Nebraska).

No shame in my game.

“West Nashville.” Ever heard of it?

I had so much fun being a tourist in my town, I can’t wait to do it again. So consider this your warning if you’re coming to Music City and staying at a fancy establishment. I’m crashing your party. Until then, I’ll be riding as high as the rooftop bar I was lucky to experience.

Oldies but goodies.

Party on.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

 

 

 

How to Join the Mile High Club

How do you join the Mile High Club?

You go to Denver, CO. Get your minds out of the fucking gutter.

My birthday has been never-ending this year (sorry not sorry to those who’ve been forced lucky enough to celebrate endlessly with me), and one of my gifts was a trip to Denver from Van Waffles.

Poor, poor me.

Being the spoiled biatch that I am, the vacay commenced with bloody marys at the ass crack of dawn in the airport.

Time doesn’t exist in airports.

There’s something about the heinous Nashville airport carpet that is a “thing” to local peeps. A shop even sells t-shirts about this beautiful floor accessory. Naturally, I had to join in on the social media fun.

Upon landing, we headed to our hotel downtown (Denver, what the fuck is up with your airport being 35 miles outside of the fucking city?). It was a sunny, 70 degree day that was just perfection. As soon as we left to explore the downtown, I somehow made a wrong turn but in such a right way.

My Mothership.

Yes. I came all the way to Colorado to shop in a Target because I’ve never been in my Mothership that was located in a downtown setting with no parking lot. I mean, it’s all about new life experiences, isn’t it?

Target in the heart of downtown.

Once Van Waffles was able to drag me out of the store that I just scoured the day before in Nashville (they have the same items in case you’re wondering which I’m sure you aren’t but now you know) it was time to enjoy pink wine in the sunshine.

A perfect day for rosé.

We then made our way to a shuttle that transported us to the famous Red Rocks amphitheater for a 311 concert.

I sure the fuck didn’t know what I was about to embark.

I was warned not to wear heels to Red Rocks. I listened. I was warned that it was “quite a walk” to the venue. I practiced hills at my local park in Nashville. But I still almost died (or so I thought) on the way up to that motherfucking theater.

The worst part was being sweaty, thirsty and having to stop to take a piss in the middle of my mountain climb in a hot, humid, stank ass port-a-potty. I’d never wished I had a penis more in my whole life as I tried to stand to pee over the gaping hole of other people’s waste (you know the feeling).

Mouth breathing.

Low and behold, much to Van’s bleeding ears, after all of my bitching…

As soon as I got to the fucking top of the mountain, my iWatch buzzed. I was certain that it might explode from my activity during the climb but alas it was just reminding me that I hadn’t come close to closing my step (in red) or exercise (in green) rings. And I’d had this watch on since 4:30am.

I work out a lot. Obvies.

What I do work out on a regular basis? My biceps. And by the time I spied the wine line, all was right in the world.

Workout more my speed.

All in all the weather was perfect, the band was killer and the night was fabulous.

If you ever get the chance to see a show at this venue, GO. But maybe watch my coaching videos above for reference before you attempt to mountain climb unless of course you’re in shape. Then it’ll be easy breezy for you.

When the concert was over, I walked down the mountain like I was a 94-year-old woman recovering from a hip replacement surgery. Mostly this was due to the fact that I fall down like it’s my day job and I’m not sure how much more my joints can take before I need a true knee, hip, ankle, elbow, and wrist replacement surgery.

Me: Sorry we’re having to walk down so slowly. (Literally taking left foot and stopping. Letting right foot catch up)

Van Waffles: It’s OK. Nobody knows us here.

Me: That’s so sweet fucking true.

After consuming every drop of water in the hotel (along with every bag of potato chips and maybe a Snickers bar because I got contact high from the legal marijuana smoked at the show) I woke up Saturday hacking like I’d been a lifelong smoker.

I soon got my act together because I had told my college bestie, Tdawg, that I would take her yoga sculpt class at Core Power Yoga where she instructs. She was picking me up at 10am and being that I take hot yoga, have taken many sculpting classes, I incorrectly assumed I was up for this challenge after a night out and a mountain hike.

Pre-yoga excitement.

Upon arriving, the serene yoga room had a reminder on the door.

Just what I need after a mountain climb.

Then Tdawg came in and blasted old school Nelly…”Andele andale moma E.I. E.I. uh oh!”

Uh fucking oh was right. She didn’t teach a power sculpt yoga class. She instructed a Jane Fonda on crack cardio class with a few yoga moves thrown in here and there while the room was heated. No big deal. This was just the second time I thought a workout was going to be the death of me in Colorado in a matter of 24 hours.

Yoga Barbie and a sweaty pig in a blanket.

Keeping everyone updated via Instagram stories, Sister CBXB kindly asked if we’d be partaking in our favorite college past time.

Not drinking.

Not doing drugs.

Yes. Embossing cards. We would stay in our dorm on the weekends and fucking craft homemade greeting cards. We were beyond cool.

Obvies.

Heading to her house after class to meet her offspring and hubs, she informed me that I am doing a fabulous job educating the youth of America.

Oh be still my beating heart. This is truly one of the highest honors of my life. Teaching kids the F-bomb and S-word is basically my equivalent to winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tdawg’s hubs, Cdawg was celebrating his birthday and when he offered me a mimosa to start his celebratory weekend, who was I to turn him down?

My Uber descended to their house and both the Dawgs could not have been more gracious, offering me a full-to-the-brim roadie I happily accepted. “Hopefully one day you’ll come out of your shell,” Cdawg’s dad said as I doled out departing hugs.

Shyness doesn’t become her.

Next up? I showered, gussied up in my finest sequins to meet a friend who until today was only a virtual friend. She’s a fellow blogger who lives in Boulder and when I reached out to let her know about my last second trip, she was available to meet! IN PERSON! When does this happen?

It’s Viv in the flesh!

We’ve been virtual friends for almost six years and she’s known me before the twins, before Rapegate, before losing my music business career…so it’s like we knew each other because we did. It just took it to an entirely new level being in the flesh. Best long lunch date ever.

I told her I didn’t smoke at the concert the prior evening because I don’t like smoking but maybe I would try an edible while in Denver. She said if I did, to nibble on the ear of a gummy bear because peeps usually over do it (and let’s be honest, I could eat a bag of regular gummy bears, so eating just the ear off of one would seem like an underperformance on my end).

After lunch, she sent me this very ominous meme.

I chose not to edible.

Avoiding edibles proved to be the best possible thing because I wanted to keep my eyes open to meet up with yet another gal pal SS. Our mammas were sorority sisters in college and we were childhood friends. I hadn’t seen her since 4th fucking grade.

Not much has changed since we were 10…

Then we went and met up with the rest of the Nashville crew.

Hanging with the gang.

Although I didn’t get high, just mostly drunk, I still had the munchies on the way back to the hotel and it was very upsetting when passing a gluten-free bakery that was closed. I handled it like a lady.

I was just trying to fuel up for the flight home, which was occurring in a matter of hours after our night out.

Too many people before coffee, a bloody mary and 6am.

Best part about the early flying is I got to sit by the Easter Bunny and I scored her phone number!

Furever friends. For real.

Immediately upon arrival home in Nashville, I got a bloody nose that was the gift that just kept on giving all goddamn day long.

Dry Denver air don’t care.

Once the door to the Mini Manse opened, Van Waffles looked at me and said in all seriousness, “is your birthday over now?”

What the fuck do you think?

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Tight Ends and Taylor Swift

Oh Nashville.

You used to be my hidden gem of a city. I’d lure people to visit because if someone didn’t like country music, they weren’t interested in coming. Nashville was never just country music and cowboys but only true peeps who lived here knew that. Now, the secret’s out. It’s been out for quite some fucking time since the overly dramatic television show Nashville hit TV screens and the last few years, one hundred people have been moving here per day, taking up precious space on my interstates (yes, the interstates here are mine and mine only) and causing housing prices to sky rocket (seriously stop moving here or I’m going to be unable to afford to live in my Mini Manse that is a 42-year-old, popcorn ceilinged, ratchety carpeted, brass hardwared apartment that has gone up in rent almost $100 per year the last three years).

After this weekend, it’s suffice to say that Nashville is a legit city. Music City hosted the NFL Draft (downtown), the Country Music Marathon (downtown), Jimmy Buffett threw a parrot head party (downtown), and Taylor Swift decided to make a surprise appearance in the city with an impromptu meet and greet at the same time regular tourists and bachelor/bachelorette parties invaded the city while regular events went on per usual.

In 2017, Nashville’s population was 691,243.

This weekend, 600,000 more people invaded the city.

A projected 340,000 people for the weekend. That number nearly doubled for the three day shenanigans in Music City.

Most folks that live here took heed from the warning below…

The traffic lights literally spelled NFL. Photo credit: Pedro Esteban Tellez.

Just because my city was inundated with NFL fans didn’t mean I wasn’t in the mood for the draft. Two Iowa tight ends were projected to be selected Round One. So naturally, I gussied up at work in support.

Tight End University, Baby!

Lucky for me, First Mate is a sports head too and she hosted a draft partay at her castle.

Do gators eat hawks or do the birds peck gators to death?

Nothing says football party like a little two boxes of rosé.

True to the projections, my Iowa Hawkeyes tight ends, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant were selections eight and 20 overall in the first round. The University of Iowa is the first ever to have two tight ends drafted in the first round, which is why we’re now known as Tight End University.

I’m a size medium if anyone is at Raygun in the near future.

Detroit for Hockenson.
Broncos for Fant.

Might as well have been downtown.

Or maybe we were glad we were in air conditioning.

Either way, we had such a ball that we accidentally killed two boxes of rosé.

R.I.P. Bota Boxes.

Did I mention it was Thursday night? I woke up with such confusion at First Mate’s Friday morning (because I usually stay over on a weekend), I almost lollygagged too long to make it to work on time.

As if draft day one wasn’t enough, Taylor Swift decided to grace Nashville with her presence the day she dropped her first single off of the upcoming album. Hint after hint was dropped by Swift’s camp and Swifties from all over the planet somehow figured the fuck out where she was going to be at 11am on Friday morning.

If you want to stand where Taylor is standing, this mural is in the Gulch area of Nashville.

For those of  you Swifties out here, below is a video (it’s grainy but you’ll get the gist) captured by a dude who misses nothing in Nashville and is hip to every.single.thing happening in town. Taylor apparently stayed and signed autographs and graciously took selfies for hours.

One thing most Nashvillians can unite on is our disdain for the “woohoo” girls who come down for bachelorette parties. Now of course they pay good money and stay downtown but are, quite possibly, the most annoying of all tourists. So this was an especially funny site to see.

Speaking of bachelorette parties, check out the best sign from the marathon on Saturday.

A big congrats to the 30,000+ runners who completed the half and full marathon. I’ve done both and they are hard as fuuuuuuuuuuck.

Run for the tacos. @rosepepper

Even though neither First Mate nor myself did any kind of running, we still decided we needed tacos.

So we ran to eat Mexican.

While Nashville was abuzz with all kinds of shit happening, my Iowa twins were all primped up for a wedding. It’s too bad they don’t enjoy each other’s company.

Nothing but love.

J. Crew model in the making.

Hair model in the making.

I mean fucking COME ON.

When Sunday rolled around, I was ready for some mauling by The Pussy Posse.

Rocky and Fabio have snuggling down to a science.

The newest addition Scooch, is another story.

After watching everyone stand on their feet for three days downtown, my tootsies ached for them. Of course I remedied that the best way I know.

To all those that came in for a few days, thanks for coming!

But mostly, thanks for getting the fuck out of town.

Love ya, mean it!

CBXB!

 

 

 

Weekend Winks – Catfish, Cuteness and Cocktails

No matter your job or career, there’s something about that Friday feeling that gets most of us nine to five folks giddily gearing up for the weekend ahead.

Rocky nailed it.

Fridays always call for cocktails in my book and I was lucky enough to partake in the very divine avocado margaritas (sound disgusting, beyond delish) at a local restaurant called Avo. It’s a fabulous vegan place that even carnivores  (me)can love.

Double fisting at its finest.

I have a love/hate relationship with the social media “remember this from a year ago” shit they drudge up daily. But this time, I was loving the reminder on Instagram.

From toddlers to kids in the blink of an eye.

While my Iowa twins are a ways away from 21, that doesn’t stop the party from taking place around the time of a typical happy hour for Princess B (remind you of anyone else you know?).

No problems with happy hours here.

While it was juice galore for my princess, Prince B was pretty much trying out to be a Harlem Globetrotter.

Is the player that short or is Prince B that tall?

He’s a serious athlete in the making and I can’t wait to yell, make a scene, cheer from the stands like the appropriately embarrassing aunt I will never cease to be.

I cannot wait to wear his jersey.

In other sports related news, my Nashville Predators hockey team is in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. So I did what any good sports fan does and got gussied up in my finest attire. Nashville’s non-official ‘mascot’ is a catfish because inevitably at the start of any game, a fan always throws a catfish on the ice. Now there is a tank full of catfish at the arena (these catfish are only for viewing pleasure, not to be thrown on the ice, FYI).

Gussied up in my Preds gear.

It was a girl gang-a-palooza watching party at a local joint, The Centennial, in the Nations area of Nashville.

Girl gang in full force.

Van Waffles had the pleasure of being our mascot for the evening. I don’t think he minded being the ring leader of us gaggle of gals.

Van Waffles and the resident clown.

The hockey game got exciting, as it went into overtime. When I glanced over at First Mate, she’d added a Preds hat and brought her towel out of her purse to further encourage our team’s win.

Stealth accessory adder.

First Mate undoubtedly looked adorable in her additional giddy up, which proved to help our Preds because they won in overtime. Meanwhile, I had a hard time putting on an accessory otherwise known as a windbreaker.

Blame it on a big head or being blonde?

Winding down Sunday, a little hair of the dog action was necessary while watching Tiger Woods come back out of his 11 year slump. I’m way too loud for golf but it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of excitement with an event so big.

The Pussy Posse could have given two fucks about the Masters, so they had a snuggle party in bed instead.

Snugglemania.

After not watching the insanely hyped Game of Thrones debut (I haven’t seen but the first episode where a brother has sex with a sister and they push a boy out of a castle window, so I don’t get why every.single.person I know is in love with this series but to each their own). Instead, I ended the weekend the way I always do.

Bubblicioius.

Cheers!

CBXB!

 

The Bonanza

Being that I’ve taken the last three years off from celebrating much of anything, it.was.on. for my birthday this year. For those of you unaware (I have no fucking idea how you couldn’t if you read this blog very often at all), my day of gracing this planet with my presents presence is exactly three months after Christmas. And frankly, I had so much fun this year, I may just start my birthday countdown December 26. Sorry. Not sorry.

My big time celebrating did start about a week prior to the actual day because my Iowa peeps were in Nashville for their spring break.

Birthday Sandwich.

Sister CBXB, being the foodie that she is, kept saying she was my amuse bouche (which in French literally translates to mouth amuser….It’s OK, I live in the south) to my birthday. Since I frequent more hip chain style casual dining restaurants of the likes of Chili’s, I had to look the term up. Amuse bouche is served at fancy restaurants before any orders are placed to prepare diners of the chef’s style. Next time at Dalts I’m going to ask for an amuse bouche with a side of ranch before my first Skinny Pirate.

The amuse bouche of my birthday!

We went to a fabulous restaurant called Husk, where we were on a three-way (again, fine due to my region of residence) text with my foodie bro-in-law back in Iowa.  He is an expert on ordering, knows what we like to eat, drink and guzzle.

Husk Hooch.

Naturally, when two corn-fed sisters saw cornbread on the menu, it was a must.

We hated it.

Aside from the beyond our wildest dreams cornbread we wanted to stuff into our purses for a snack later, we feasted on fried dilly tomatoes with pimento cheese, chicken, steak and more cocktails, of course. BIL informed us that this was all created under Chef Brock who is on the new season of Chef’s Table on Netflix.

We so fancy.

I carried the fancy on to the Mumford and Sons concert Sister CBXB took me to after supper. I carefully selected my concert t-shirt (a must whenever I see a live show) and then promptly put it on.

Yes. I’m that girl.

My sister put her t-shirt on right away too because siblings stick together. After getting cocktails that cost more than I’m paid per hour, we sat to watch the opening act. As we were chit chatting about how lights and speakers are hung (I used to work in music production) a man in front of us was apparently on a first fucking Match.com date and asked us to be quiet. Then his date piped in and said she, “paid good money for these tickets.”

You can imagine how that went.

Take your shhhh! and shove it up your ass.

Ahmahzing sold out show.

Mumford and Sons not only sold out the Bridgestone Arena, they also broke the record for attendance tipping the people meter at over 19,000.

The following evening, First Mate further assisted me out of my culinary comfort zone and took me to a new Indian restaurant in Nashville called Chaatable. Every time I think of Indian food, I see Ben Stiller sweating (then shitting) his brains out in the movie Along Came Polly.

Beauty and her birthday Beast.

You guys, this restaurant was beyond. I didn’t sweat or shit myself (surprisingly) while dining here. The food was insane good to the point where I wanted to lick my butter chicken bowl clean (I may have).

All. the. yes.

There are 80,000 Indian bracelets used as a central piece of the art in the restaurant. Now I need one of these in the Mini Manse, of course.

Bracelet bonanza.

The eve of my birthday consisted of wine, cats, cuddles and DVR.

Purrrrfection.

On my birthday, I woke up with all four of my pussies in the bed, contemplating having a ‘sick’ day from work since my birthday fell on a Monday. However, that would have been a grave mistake on my part.

Well wishes came in all kinds of styles starting with handmade cards from the twins…

…to insane crazy sweet text messages…

…to appropriate memes sent to me throughout the day.

It looked like Christmas morning at my desk upon my arrival to work. From wine, to pink icing covered donuts, to lunch with coworkers at my fave Dalts to cake in the afternoon, the day did not suck.

Spoiled beyond.

Here I thought it would be a slight bummer having my birthday fall on the first day of the work week but boy, was I mistaken.

After a short work day (I have the best boss), I met First Mate for rosé at 51st Taproom.

Rosé all birthday.

Then it was on to a Mexican fiesta with Mama CBXB and Rasta for more vino, accompanied by some cheese dip and 4,961 chips. And then, my mom’s family famous O’Henry bars for a birthday treat.

Janie’s Junk just for me.

Due to the fact that I had years of celebrating to make up for, I welcomed wishes and reminders all week.

Double DUH.

My TGIF birthday night was another fabulous dining experience for me. Van Waffles took me to the Marsh House at the Thompson Hotel in the Gulch area of Nashville. Another menu for me to text my BIL and sister, who guided me through the ordering process of cocktails, BBQ shrimp (fucking killer) and Mahi.

The Marsh House mania.

The experience was so divine, it was dizzying.

Best photographer ever.

Saturday, Van Waffles spoiled me further by cooking a fabulously kick ass meal at the Mini Manse. I have no idea what all was in it aside from salmon and noodles but it all went into my belly. I also had no idea my kitchen functioned properly for which it was intended (not just extra storage in the oven).

THIS. WAS. MADE. IN. MY. KITCHEN.

Further spoiling came from all over the globe. I woke up on Sunday to this sweet message from my buddy, Stevie, who lives in Australia. We’ve yet to meet in person but it seems like we’ve been friends for years. Because we have been friends on social media. Isn’t that fun?

The awesome didn’t stop, as I made my way to Dalts for a much-needed hair of the dog on my day of rest.

Then capped off by my favorite relaxing ritual.

Birthday bubbles.

All in all, this was one of my best birthdays that I can remember. So much so, that I won’t ever be taking three years off from celebrating again.

Cheers until next year!

Thanks for all of the love. I love you right back.

CBXB

CBXB!