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.

My Gma the Great

I’ve never been one to take my family or time with them for granted, so it was real bummer when my Gma passed away five years ago. Not only was she one of my best buddies, I know I inherited her brutal honesty, ornery streak, lipstick and love of having my fingernails polished.

To celebrate what would have been her 97th birthday today, an ode to my Gma the great!

Gma

Always one to laugh at surprises…

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…you took to my photobombing like it was one of your most treasured prizes.

Photo Bomb!

You never let anyone forget…

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…when it was time to celebrate you bigger than the national debt.

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I learned from the best…

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…how to celebrate my life full of zest.

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Now seriously Gma, you taught me to party harder than Mae West.

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A love of leopard you instilled….

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…which is now being passed down to the next generation, who’s thrilled.

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It’s so fun you two met at a skating rink…

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…even if after 44 years you still had to steal kisses quicker than an eye blink.

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Although I took after Gpa avoiding kisses, rather craving a hard drink…

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…you always insisted on showing your love, making sure everyone was in sync.

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Beauty sleep and a hairnet was apparently all that you needed…

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…but truly it was your hairdos that always succeeded.

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So it was with glasses and confidence that I superseded…

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…the grace and confidence that you always heeded.

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I wish I would have felt more impeded.

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The Iowa State Fair you never did love,

probably because you couldn’t wear foot gloves.

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It will never be the same, not bringing you a corn dog…

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…and discussing how I ate my way through the fair like a prize-winning hog.

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Circled blacked out dates always meant you had a companion…

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…you always loved attention bigger than the Grand Canyon.

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Attending every homemade Christmas pageant we made…

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…and most likely secretly prayed…

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…that I would never end up a lonely old maid.

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The first to pass of five sisters, who lived out their misters,

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…you loved being pampered more than a fever blister.

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Your nails were painted the day before you passed…

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…and Jell-O shots without you will seem so miscast.

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Regardless of view near or afar, life will never be the same…

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…without you as my shining rock star.

Love and miss you Gma.

CBXB!

How to Look Fairlicious

Being a fashion conscious gal, what to wear to the Iowa State Fair every August is quite a dilemma.

And since fair season is upon us in America (Iowa’s starts today!), I’m assuming you waste brain cells on how to be a fashionably functional fairgoer, too (Right? RIGHT?)

Stuff

Straight out of the pages of Vogue, I know.

Always my own fabulous fair guide, I long to look cute while trekking between the livestock barns.  Prancing around cattle, sheep, horse and swine areas is extremely difficult – especially if you’re trying to avoid manure of any kind.

Tiny.

Tiny. The Grand Champion bull weighing in at 3,012lbs.

Serious.

Sorry if you have a big, sweaty ass but NO BUTT FANS, mmkay?

Skinny swine he's not.

Non-starving swine.

I want to look cute stuffing my face at corn dog stands (and doughnut, giant tenderloin, fried Oreo, cheese curd, funnel cake, fried butter, kettle corn, taffy, fried snickers, gyro and anything you could imagine on a stick stands).

Best breakfast ever.

Best breakfast ever.

Yes.

Hells yes.

Fuck no.

Fuck no.

I long to look adorable for the famous butter cow (don’t stand in the Disney World long line – just whiz up to the center, say excuse me (Iowans are suuuuper nice), snap a pic and get out).

Butter Cow

Yep. It’s really just a life-sized cow sculpted from butter.

I strive to be attractive while standing in line, alone (because no one in my crew will ride with me) to enjoy the double ferris wheel and see a sign that says “NO SINGLE RIDERS.” So it’s imperative I look fab for the third kid in a family, who is also always a single rider.

Sky Wheel

It’s best if you don’t see the dude who constructs this masterpiece before you ride, FYI.

Happy to be a very embarrassed 11-year-olds first date.

Happy to be a very embarrassed 11-year-old’s first date.

As I attend the best state fair America has to offer (in my expert opinion) it’s important that I am not only looking fairlicious, but I must also be able to conceal the unavoidable eight pounds slowly gained in one day (it can seriously happen).

So here’s what to wear to your favorite state fair (but seriously, you should just go to Iowa’s and call it a day).

Rule one: Cute but comfy shoes.

**I WILL NOT WALK WITH YOU IF YOU WEAR CROCS!**

Even feet used to wear and tear will feel the wrath of the standing, eating, walking, eating, running (to get one last corn dog before the stand closes for the night), and eating.  I never do sneakers unless I’m working out, therefore I have found that wedge flip flops work best. They keep your feet breathable in all kinds of weather and add a bit of support for arches.

Look semi-chic while side stepping the pig manure.

Rule two:  Wear a fabulous outfit with an expanding waist band to compensate for the endless overindulging.

**I WILL NOT WALK WITH YOU IF YOU WEAR A MUUMUU!**

I typically wear a dress that will not make me look 12 months pregnant after 12 straight hours of fair food. I find a-line dresses the best for keeping it cool and letting it all hang out (especially for times when you about knock the Iowa State Fair Queen down, due to chasing her through the Art building and then almost making her pass out from your own “I’ve been at the fair for 9 hours” aroma).

State

One authentic state fair queen and one poser.

Or I’ll wear a skirt (I loathe shorts) with a belt, sure to adjust to the eight new inches around my gut by the end of the day.

Grandpa's Belt

Grandpa’s belt comes in handy!

Rule three: Carry a multi-purpose bag.

**I WILL NOT WALK WITH YOU IF YOU WEAR A FANNY PACK!**

I find that a cross-body bag is the most useful because I’m constantly in and out of it for my phone (everyone wants that caloric Facebook update, right?), a drink of water (or Captain),  sunglasses (constantly in and out of buildings) and retrieving Pepto Bismol (every hour on the hour).

BJ Bag

The keeper of all things fair.

Rule four: You must be willing to look like an ass at any/all times.

**I WILL NOT TAKE YOU TO THE FAIR IF YOU REFUSE TO HAVE FUN!!**

Attempt to wear all

Flaunting my newest accessories.

Unabashedly carry every single item you picked up with you

Taking up an entire park bench due to the massive amounts of free shit we had to have and therefore lug around for hours, all the while stuffing our faces in the hopes a blue ribbon gets pinned on us for being the best fairgoers ever.

And that, my friends is how you remain functionally fashionable while being fairlicious.

But just remember…

You are what you eat.

You are what you eat.

Now go and have a corn dog (or four) for me.

CBXB

CBXB!