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.

All of Us, Together

WHAT. THE. FUCK. 2020?

How hard can a year be? We’re not halfway through this one and wow. Just a gigantic motherfucking wow…for all of us.

I mean, peeps all over the world are having to be reminded to wash their hands, (that we were taught to do as wee lads, so a major fail on the adults in this world) as well as a reminder in the harshest way to treat others the way you want to be treated (as we were also taught as kids, shame the fuck on us).

Wash your hands. Live by the Golden Rule.

Some of you didn’t watch this as a kid and it shows.

Collectively, the world is mourning what was life before fucking Rona. There is going to be a before Rona and after Rona. Whether you want it to or not, your life will never be the same. That’s a grieving process and it’s really fucking difficult to grieve something that is still alive. No matter your thoughts on the pandemic – whether you are practicing wise caution, freaked the fuck out or carrying on as nothing is going on around you.

Maybe you know someone who died from COVID. Maybe you contracted COVID and will have lasting aftermath in your body forever. Maybe you lost your livelihood, your business, your house, some relationships, missed prom, rescheduled your wedding, virtually graduated from school, or/and lost your goddamn mind.

This pandemic is real whether you know someone who has been touched by it or not.

RIP Lindsey. 11/23/87 – 3/23/20

Whatever the case may be, When All This Is Over (WATIO) there will be a new normal. Folks may be wearing masks in public forever.

Protection from a pandemic. But make it fashion.

Restaurants and businesses may not be at full capacity for a while. The hard part of this process is the unknown. And lack of leadership in this country. But know that whatever and however you feel Rona is being handled in America, you’re processing some sort of grief about it.

Hello yes, this is Karen. I would like to speak with a manager about the new fucking normal. Thanks.

While America was still thick in the adjustment of Rona, a Black man by the name of George Floyd was murdered on Memorial Day by a Minneapolis police officer.

This injustice at the hands of authority sent should have set your stomach on fire. And yet, Black men being killed by law enforcement is not new and we Americans know that. Fuck, the entire world knows it.

America started that week with New York City resident Amy Cooper, a White woman, calling the cops after a bird watching Christian Cooper (not related) asked her to put her dog on a leash. In Central Park, where leashes on dogs are required (and we all know how I fucking feel about dogs not on leashes). Her exact words to Christian Cooper, who was videoing the episode for his own protection, no doubt:

“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,” Amy Cooper is heard saying in the video. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

HE ASKED HER TO LEASH HER FUCKING DOG IN A PARK WHERE IT’S REQUIRED.

What a fucking ass clown.

How many times have White people called the cops on Black people for mundane, ordinary things? It is fucking outrageous.

America started the week with Amy Cooper. America ended that week with police officer Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd over a $20 bill, coming freshly off murders of Ahmad Arbery while jogging in broad daylight to Breonna Taylor being shot eight times in her own home.

I believe that when George Floyd called out for his mama in his dying breaths, it was instinctual because his mother had died a few years prior. He wanted her comfort. I think all of us who have a mama want her when we’re sick, scared, vulnerable, dying.

While I haven’t carried a child in my own belly, I have maternal instincts. I know that I love with my entire being, unconditionally. We are all aware that I love my fur babies as if I had birthed them myself and I would honestly, die for them.

But there are also two little kids that my world revolve around and I couldn’t live without either one of them in my life. I would burn the entire world to ashes if anything resembling a George Floyd situation happened to them and lay my life down to protect them from growing up in fear of their lives for daily tasks. I assume you would do the same for your children no matter what the color of their skin.

Can you, as a White person reading this, imagine telling your five-year-old that when they see a police officer they should immediately put their hands up? No. Because as White children, we are told to go to a police officer for help or if we see something bad happening for our protection.

Three years from learning to put their hands up if a police officer approaches them.

When does this little boy become a threat to society in America?

Too cute?

When is it not safe for him to jog on his own?

Still too cute?

What if he has his ball cap on the wrong way?

What about now?

What about her?

Will she always be safe in her own home?

Racism is real, obviously alive, rampant, and raging in America – even if you are not a racist. My eyes were forced open to my own ignorance of it being ever-present since 2017. When my sister called to tell me that White frat boys in khaki shorts and golf shirts were marching with the KKK in Charlottesville, VA, I first thought the images my brain was trying to absorb must be scenes from another country.

White privilege is real. And if you’re a White person in America, you are privileged simply by the color of your skin. It doesn’t mean you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth or didn’t work your ass off to get where you are today or have unspeakable shit happen to you. It just means that you had a leg up. History has just shown us that the system is a hell of a lot more flawed in favor of White privilege when it comes to police officers, law enforcement in general, and the judicial system.

Because I am White I can do the following without fear of being killed:

This is especially true if you are a White man in America.

The Constitution was written by White men, for White men with no consideration of any other race or sex in 1789. It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been amended and adapted over time of course but that’s where our country as we know it began. It aided America’s history of systemic racism.

Police brutality is real even though you and I both know outstanding police officers. Stand up citizens serving their communities. I have the utmost and mad respect for people who choose to be a cop. But that still doesn’t mean there aren’t bad ones that make horrible choices and as we are finding out, have had disciplinary problems, yet still allowed to work and end up killing innocent people ( Breonna Taylor officer Brett Hankison was and still currently accused in an ongoing civil lawsuit in federal court regarding harassment and George Floyd’s murderer had 17 misconduct complaints and still at work). What kind of system allows behavioral misconduct where you can still carry a gun and work the streets? I have three write-ups and I’m out at an office desk job.

I have heard a lot of my friends say “I just don’t pay attention to it,” regarding the Black Lives Matter movement in America and that is unacceptable. Because it is White people who have the most to learn and comprehend. Education is where we can start. Uncomfortable conversations will be required to move forward. And that’s all OK. This doesn’t mean you are a racist.

It’s imperative that we listen. We learn. We absorb. We educate ourselves and others. Because when it boils down to it, this is a very black and white matter. You are racist or you are not.

White Americans can and must do better. Show the fuck up for one another. To live by the simplest of all – the Golden Rule. How and why is that so fucking hard?

See something, say something.

This isn’t the kind of country in which any kid should grow up.

@repvaldemings

We can do better. We must do better. We owe it to our future generations to be better.

It’s going to take all of us, together.

Black Lives Matter.

CBXB
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Goodbye to 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 a few weeks ago. Not only was she one of my best buddies, I know I inherited her brutal honesty, ornery streak and love of having my fingernails polished.

An ode to my Gma, HJ who recently passed away…

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 hair ‘dos 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.

I love you Gma.

Megan

CBXB!