Weekend Winks – WTF Fall?!

Where the fuck is fall?

It’s been a balmy 90 degrees and higher month of September in Nashville with not much of an end in sight. If you live below the Mason-Dixon Line, you know what’s up. At this rate, we’ll get one day of fall at the end of October and then it will start snowing.

There are signs of autumn all around – green leaves are falling from the trees (because it’s so fucking dry here), pumpkin spice everything is being advertised everywhere (did Starbucks start this beyond basic trend with their flavored latte?), football in the college and professional realms have kicked off, hockey season is upon us and Halloween decor is out in full force. So come the fuck on fall weather.

Regardless of the tropical heatwave, I scored seats to a preseason Predators game. Feeling the cool air in the arena reminded me what season is coming next.

Puck yeah hockey season is here!

Sleepy and I sat a few rows off the glass and I had to keep yelling chants to keep her eyes open (I kid, I kid. But this chick has fallen asleep numerous times when we’ve hung out, hence her nickname and the beautiful photo below).

Smashed ‘n’  Sleepy.

What other sport symbolizes the start of fall like college football? This was the fifth week of play and Dada CBXB and I were ready, as always.

Photo props waiting for their close ups.

We switched our Family Tradition touchdown shots from moonshine to Tennessee Fire (cinnamon whiskey – waaaaaay smoother than Fireball), when the Hawks started scoring more than two touchdowns per game. Our livers have loved us ever since.

Tenn Fire.

We even had a prediction as to how many touchdown shots would take place when the Hawkeyes took on the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University.

Our buddy’s shot forecast sure started out on the right cleat.

One and NOT done.

I’ve been trying to incorporate Prissy into the game day hoopla. She is so over it.

Shot two with an side of eye roll.

It was 11:58am when we slid the third shot smoothly down our throats.

Third outside with the birds.

When I posted a video about our Family Tradition consumption on Instagram, a few more peeps had more predictions…

We aren’t quitters.

Four more please.

Jazz hands for the fifth TD.

Double hands for the final family tradition count!

With a final score of 48-3, we were high on life, a win and had well dehydrated livers. Aside from victory, Saturday’s game highlighted one of the most endearing stories to come around in awhile. On the program College Gameday (the one where my 82-year-old boyfriend Lee Corso commentates and I just stood six hours to catch a glimpse of him two weeks ago), it’s tradition to hold signs up during the broadcast. My Iowa Hawkeyes played in state rivalry, the Cyclones on September 14 on their turf in Ames.

In the crowd, one of the signs red “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished” along with a Venmo handle @CarsonKing-25. Meant to be a joke, strangers started sending funds to this Venmo account and when the sign maker, Carson King, a Cyclone fan, finally noticed, he’d received over $600 just during Gameday. And then, something specfuckingtacular happened. King decided that he would donate all of money he received for beer money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital which is in Iowa City, where the Hawks reside.

That’s when it took off…

With both Anheuser-Busch and Venmo’s pledges to match donations through the end of September 30, 2019 (you’ve got time to donate), Carson King will be donating well over $2 million dollars raised in TWO weeks. What a heartwarming story needed when the climate of America is so divisive. The world needs more Carson Kings (oh and p.s. he’s 24 years old).

#ForTheKids

After all the feel goods in the morning, I joined the crew at the pool for one last weekend.

Captain, First Mate, Sleepy and Mama CBXB.

Saturday night proved alright. Prissy, the Pussy Posse and I hunkered down for the premiere of SNL, which did not disappoint. If you missed it, look up the sketch where Woody Harrelson’s Joe Biden character compares himself to a plastic straw. Comedy writing at its finest.

Saturday night vibes and yet, more fucking side eye.

Although it feels like tropical vacation weather minus the vacation in Nashville, my apartment pool shuts down this week. So you bet your ass, I planted mine in a lounge chair all of Sunday.

See ya summer.

I’m already working on a bikini body for next year’s heatwave in hot yoga and spin classes (still trying to lose the weight gained since Rapegate).

Rising and fucking shining.

Now come the fuck on fall!

Cheers.

CBXB

CBXB!

For the Love of the Game

It’s no secret that I’ve had a rough go in my personal life the last few years. Of course, no one has perfection and bad shit happens to everyone, however, I’ve been numbed to the point that I don’t expect the worst but am surprised by nothing. Nothing.

Martians falling from the sky? We believe you.

It’s also no secret that I love college football – especially my alma mater, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Fans #1 and #2.

It can be hard for those who experience trauma to remain in the moment, appreciating what life offers up for enjoyment. No matter how small the pleasure.

The last day that I can truly say I was ‘in the moment’ was December 5, 2015. I got to experience the first Big Ten Championship with my dad, The Silent Indian (who cheered for the wrong team) and Camo with my Iowa Hawkeyes taking on Sparty of Michigan State.

Big four at the Big Ten game.

It was one of the best days of my life even though Sparty won in the literal last second of the game.

All the after morning feels.

Four days upon returning home from that game, I was pushed out of a career that I’d worked my ass off to obtain in the music business. Eleven days after that, I experienced the worst Christmas of my life – a day I cherish (almost as much as my birthday) due to family dynamics shifting and my unwillingness to accept it. Less than one month later, a woman who was like a little sister to me died in a car accident. That evening, I went to my best friend’s house and was raped by her boyfriend.

I went into deep personal hibernation.

Somebody wake me when it’s 2025.

The day I was at the hospital awaiting my rape kit to be performed, I was asked if I’d like an advocate to come sit with me. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t because as my bare ass was hanging out of the back of a hospital gown, I was in a state of shock. An advocate was called on my behalf. Aside from her beyond sweet demeanor, her name being Barbie (I mean, c’mon!), her fabulous Louis Vuitton purse (obvies the right advocate for me), she said something that still rings true to this day.

“There will be a before rape in your life. And there will be an after rape.”

A before and after. Seems like a simple enough concept but I did not comprehend then how fucking true this would be in my daily life moving forward.

The Before: last selfie I took before Rapegate.

The After: first selfie taken after Rapegate.

It’s now been 1,277 days since the saga of Rapegate began. At first it was all-consuming, eating me up – a worm in my brain, invading every moment of my sleep, thoughts, feelings – I had no idea that I might as well have been standing at the bottom of Mount Everest, readying to climb 29,029 feet with zero conditioning.

My thoughts on hiking.

Thing is, life goes on all around even though time stands still for victims of any sort of trauma. For me, I was stuck on January 29, 2016 but I still had a job to find, bills to pay, fur ball mouths to feed and personal hygiene to maintain (this took much insisting from Mrs. America and my sister). I just wanted to wallow on my leopard couch and have it swallow me whole but of course that didn’t fucking happen.

Not so fresh and so clean clean.

With the support and love from my family, friends, and readers of this blog (my sparkly army), I was encouraged to put one (semi-clean) foot in front of the other and got into counseling. I’ve tirelessly acted as my own advocate with a horrendous detective, found a job, kept my lights on, was diagnosed with PTSD, adjustment disorder and severe stress and stumbled forward.

I don’t wanna but I’m gonna!

Through what felt like a continuous avalanche in my life, I put on the happiest face possible and plowed forward. Although, everything had less meaning, was less fun, was just not right. I went to my fave watering hole Dalts, invited girlfriends over, tried to read books but couldn’t remember the page I just read, watched TV only to forget what the episode was about as my mind couldn’t stay focused, stopped going to yoga and jogging due to not being able to be alone with my thoughts – because the aftermath of Rapegate was never far.

SAY WHAT?

Trying to trudge through life, every step felt like I was moving through snow waist deep. Yet again, life stops for no one. Aunt Crazy Pants was diagnosed with terminal cancer almost six months to the day after I was raped. She passed just a little over two years ago, ten days after I suddenly lost the fur ball love of my life, Ted. The searing dual losses not only felt like unusually cruel timing but also like a hot iron had been stabbed into my chest. I’d never experienced the throes of despair (navigating my way out of Rapegate), alongside devastating, life altering grief (losing those we deeply love) at the same time.

There’s not enough wine for this.

While I was home for ACP’s celebration of life, I had an opportunity to go tailgating with my Uncle Toddy, Aunt Crispie, my cousins and their many friends at the in state rivalry of the Iowa Hawkeyes versus the Iowa State Cyclones. It was a thrillingly unexpected day jam-packed with tailgating shenanigans.

The friendly family rivalry…

Battle of the birds.

The fun of endless booze all around…

I hate tailgating.

The classiness of passing time while waiting to use the port-a-potties…

Shotski for three please.

Having to ask your uncle if there’s anyone he’s friends with in his season ticket section just in case I embarrass him with my big, loud pie hole…

A beauty and a sparkly beast.

Embarrassing my youngest cousin with all the right moves…

Cousin love is acceptable below the Mason Dixon line.

Up close and personal for the live action overtime win didn’t suck!

End zone win baby!

Afterward, I realized how much fucking fun I truly had that day. I lived in the moment for the first time in almost two years – at yet another football game. I didn’t think about anything other than what I was partaking in every. single. second. The bands marching through the tailgates. The booze. The Hawkeye buses arriving. The booze. The food. The booze. The rivalry. The family and friends I was enjoying the fuck out of spending time with. The game I got to watch from the end zone and the exciting win by the Hawks in overtime.

Some cousins took it well.

Others were sore losers.

Point is, for a brief day I got a taste of what it will be like when I transfer from survivor to thriver. I felt normal. I felt the fun I was experiencing. I felt like pre-rape me for once in almost two years. And it was fucking fantastic, freeing and I caught a glimpse of my old self starting to shine through the cracks I still carry.

Fist forward.

I’m happy to report that in the two years after this fun day of football, I will be there again this upcoming Saturday as a thriving survivor. And holy shit Ames, look the fuck out. This survivor is gonna be there in the wee hours of the morning to secure a spot to see my 82 year old boyfriend, Lee Corso, with the rest of the College Game Day gang.

At the end of every episode, Lee picks one of the two teams featured and my fucking fingers, toes and legs are crossed that I get to see him don a Herky head.

Everything else is triple fucking crossed that I not only get to lay eyes on Lee but also, hopefully, maybe just maybe, get my hands on my other boyfriend, Herky the Hawkeye.

Stud.

I attended the University of Iowa for four years and never once got close enough for a pic together. But you bet your ass I tried.

Wait. Stop. I love you.

The Hawkeyes are almost always considered the underdogs. And it’s not lost on me that both the last and first time I realized I was living in the moment were at football games, watching my favorite team with some of my favorite people.

I love you too, Lee.

The love of the football fan experience was and is a much needed reminder that I’m doing the best that I can every goddamn day. Aren’t we all?

Appreciate what life offers up for enjoyment when you can.

ON IOWA!

CBXB

 

Weekend Winks – Traditions, Tailgating and Touchdowns

While Labor Day doesn’t technically make it Fall yet, the long holiday weekend seems to mark the end of summer. While it’s sad to say goodbye to lazy pool days, it was like Christmas come Saturday morning as my Iowa Hawkeyes played their first football game of the season.

Me. All last week.

Always welcoming a long weekend, I kicked off the fun at my fave watering hole Dalts Friday night, guzzling Skinny Pirates.

College football eve time killer.

My Iowa twins have basically turned into mini adults this summer. They’ve lost multiple teeth, learned how to ride bikes and just started first grade.

Wheels of time need to slow down. Please and thanks.

Love.

While the twins started their Saturday off with a bike ride, I was gussying up my celebration tree adorning it with Hawkeye decor. I mean, how could we possibly watch a game without a matching pink tinsel tree?

The game didn’t start until 6 pm and the anticipation was killing me. So I prepped the Mini Manse and had everything set up by 8:32 am.

With more than several hours to kill before kick off, there only one thing to do with the Saturday sunshine.

Pre-party at the pool!

The usual lounge lizards all showed up in our finest black swim gear (I pretended it was in support of my Hawkeyes – our colors are black and gold).

Back in black.

As game time approached, the twins set the scene for our family touchdown tradition.

W-I-N.

Dada CBXB and I have switched from our typical grow-hair-on-your-chest moonshine for touchdown shots to Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire. It’s cinnamon whiskey at its finest. Plus, I don’t look so fabulous with hair on my chest and I don’t need to add waxing to my already high maintenance beauty regimen.

The game started a scosh slow but that didn’t dampen the excitement for our first touchdown of the season!

Shot #1!

On our way from #2 to a few…

Three cheers for #3!

Funny fun for #4.

Our Hawks outscored the Miami of Ohio RedHawks 38-14.

Clearly, we had a bit of pent up energy from last year to let out. And also clearly, I don’t know how to convey excitement without my pie hole being wide open.

Prissy really couldn’t have been more unimpressed with her first Hawkeye game experience.

Football is so boooooring.

Ruby Sue was so over college football season’s arrival, she tried to go home with Dada CBXB via his cooler.

No go.

Sunday marked the second anniversary of ACP’s passing. Her favorite place to go was the Cheesecake Factory, as they make the best gin rickey’s on the planet. So Mama CBXB and I took her there to celebrate her life over one of her fave cocktails.

Speaking of celebrating, Van Waffles took another trip around the sun, so the gang gathered for birthday fun.

The bday boy and Sleepy double fisting.

M.Star couldn’t contain her excitement at seeing me twice in one week.

She loves me. So much.

Photo shoots and selfies were endlessly abound and I tried to pose for every.single.one.

The Nicest Girl on the Planet, First Mate and an Ass Clown.

The evening started early and ended early for me as I could no longer keep my eye lids open for pics.

Eyes Wide Shut.

Upon my return home, The Big Three of the Pussy Posse demanded cat tails, turning my vanity into a makeshift bar, fighting over the skinny stream of water that trickles out of the faucet. When in fact, they have no less than five other watering troughs to wet their whistles. But who am I to say no to my pussies?

Cat Tails.

Winding down on Monday was imperative to this lady. When I went to draw my bath, I realized I was out of bubbles but due to my innate ability for classy beauty hacks, the problem was solved.

Perfect end to a long weekend.

Until next Saturday’s Hawkeye game, my liver will be enjoying some recovery (when I shock it with water). Here’s hoping you enjoyed your long weekend of down time, too.

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!

Weekend Winks – Gizzards, Griswolds and Gaming

Over the river and through the woods to the mini manse they came…

So, I haven’t ever cooked a turkey (or mowed a lawn, washed dishes without rubber gloves, changed a dirty diaper… because you know, my nails are jewels, not tools) but my friend Rasta decided to bake a bird for the Thanksgiving holiday, as she wasn’t traveling back to New York. I had family from Iowa coming into Nashville, she was kind enough to invite us over and it was a Griswolds meets the Iowa Hillbillies meets City Chic. In other words, the best kind of holiday mash-up.

I’ll let you guess which is which.

I went to help prep the evening before and basically sat on my ample derriere washing the evening away with wine, BUT I did help with snapping green beans, K?

Being a sous chef is hard work.

Upon my return to the mini manse, I called Mama CBXB no less than 31 times in 25 minutes because I was attempting my first casserole with a whopping six ingredients.

What’s a ¼ lb. of cheese?

Do you drain the corn or leave the juice in it?

What’s a ¼ lb. of butter look like?

And voila!

Corn and noodle casserole was a hit.

OK, I may have eaten half of it but still, a success.

Rasta baked her tail off, as I supplied a cases of much-needed vino.

My contributions.

Rasta stirring up a storm in her kitchen.

Upon completion of the bird baking, no one in the place had ever before carved a turkey.

How many peeps does it take to carve a turkey?

The bird got divvied, the casserole was a hit and Precious the chug may have had the tryptophan kick in earlier than the rest of us.

Tired turkey.

Friday, after shaking off our turkey comas, we headed down to Bailey’s Irish Pub to join another 125 Hawkeye fans to cheer on our fave team for the last game of the year.

Hey-oh! Hawkeye time!

The outcome of the game looked rather bleak at halftime with the score being tied at 14-14 (and as the Hawks basically rolled over and died their last two games, it was anyone’s guess as to who would win). But, in the third and fourth quarters, Iowa scored an unanswered 42 points, leaving us with a winning 56-14 score.

Somewhere between shots one and four…

… and somewhere between shots five and eight.

Of course each and every time the Hawks scored, I had to Facetime Dada CBXB who was up in Iowa visiting the twins.

I can’t hear you but drink!

What do you do after a victorious beat down? Celebrate, naturally. We headed to Robert’s Western World for some of the best old school honky tonkin’ around.

Showing G’Lee a fun old-fashioned country time.

Enjoying the holiday leftovers in Iowa, my BIL was showing off his doughing skills, making turkey and gravy pizza.

Dough master.

No one was upset about the use of leftovers.

Of course, the second the clock struck 12:01 am the day after Thanksgiving, the twins were ready for Christmas. And the decorating commenced.

Tree trimming.

Old school advent calendar.

While the mini manse residents are still recuperating from the shenanigans – surely, it’s just a turkey hangover.

Snuggle train still ongoing.

A day of Hallmark holiday movies and moving from one side of the couch to the other worked wonders for us.

Working our wind down with wine. Duh.

Here’s hoping your well on your way out of a gravy coma.

CBXB

Weekend Winks – Panic, Boos! and Pussy Shenanigans

Friday started on the right foot with some prep for a Halloween party at the office tomorrow.

However, things took a hard turn when I had a panic attack out of fucking nowhere after lunch. I had to leave work, after catching my breath and then I managed to throw up while driving down the interstate. With my head out the window like a dog. And still  got my empty stomach contents all over my shoulder and down the inside of my door.

Adulting is hard.

I threw my newest armour on that I received last week via mail with no note. Now, obviously the sender really knows me, as the shirt not only included sparkly pink text, it read, “Onward Buttercup there’s fuckery to spread.” I had posted a blog about my own personal Harvey Weinstein on Friday (thinking back, possible trigger for a panic attack), and got this text from the sender.

I have the best friends.

Unable to un-tense any section of my body (even my eyeballs ached), I wallowed on the leopard couch, played Words With Friends that pissed me off when realizing my favorite state isn’t really considered a word.

WTF?

I was joined in snuggles from Iowa by my sister and Princess B.

Miles apart but the same at heart.

I was being mauled by my fur balls and I didn’t hate a second of it.

Fierce feline snuggles from Ruby Sue.

Precious and Rocky joined in, too.

I was mighty happy the Iowa game didn’t start until 5:30 pm on Saturday, so I was able to do one out of 100 loads of laundry I should have done, lay on the couch, and watch my 81-year-old boyfriend Lee Corso on ESPN’s College Game Day rock a skeleton outfit. It was pretty much a perfect fucking all day.

Game day ready.

Extremely conflicted as to wear a costume, Iowa Hawkeye gear or a combo of both, I went for the gaudier side. A little Halloween and a whole lotta Hawkeye.

Conflicted costume.

Traveling out to Dada CBXB’s for the game (also known as Pamela Anderson to my Kid Rock this time of year), we got to see Cousin Eddie and Clark that I originally rescued but they took to my dad so much so, that I wrapped them up and gave him to them for Christmas two years ago. He can’t tell them apart and calls them Cat 1 and Cat 2.

To me it’s beyond obvious.

Cousin Eddie

Clarkie

We were all Skinny Pirated up and ready for the 5:30 kick-off. Some of our crowd were more excited than others…

Although the first half was kind of a snore, my Hawkeyes pulled out a win and we take those no matter how ugly!

Two touchdown and one victory shot! Whoop!

We then settled down with nightcaps of Manhattans courtesy of my BIL’s famous recipe.

Nighty night.

I slept the most consecutive hours Saturday night in as long as I can remember. TEN hours. TEN! I’ve been averaging maybe four per evening the past two years, so saying I felt like a new lady is an understatement.

To top off the start to my Sunday, I was treated by Dada’s world-famous cheese omelette (according to him) which is one of my fave things he cooks.

Ah, yeah baby.

My Iowa twins couldn’t decide which holiday they wanted to celebrate more…

From Halloween. To Christmas. Back to Halloween.

Pumpkin perfecting.

With some elbow grease to finish.

Paw Patrol is still big at the Twin Castle, and my handy sister was able to create adorable ensembles for the most adorable duo on the planet.

Skye

Zuma

Then, all hell broke loose for me when fucking Facebook popped up a memory from a year ago and feelings started to seep into my soul. This time every year, I would be prepping Teddy Bear’s costume – this is the first time in eight years I haven’t been able to do it. And top that off with it being National Cat Day, I had a come apart of epic proportions.

Hole in my heart over my main squeeze who is gone too soon.

Not wanting my current fur babies to feel left out, (as I do have the cutest kids on the fucking block), I still celebrated my fave four pussies, of course.

My fab four. Rocky, Fabio, Ruby Sue and Elsa Pants.

I’ll leave you with a little wisdom one of my Nashville sistas gave me in regard to closing out 2017, looking forward to a new year:

Anyone have any cheese for my cracker?

CBXB

The Underdog

It’s no secret that I’ve had a rough go in my personal life the last few years. Of course, no one has perfection and bad shit happens to everyone, however, I’ve been numbed to the point that I don’t expect the worst but am surprised by nothing. Nothing.

Martians falling from the sky? We believe you.

It’s also no secret that I love college football – especially my alma mater, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Fans #1 and #2.

The last day that I can truly say I was ‘in the moment’ was December 5, 2015. I got to experience the first Big Ten Championship with my dad, The Silent Indian (who cheered for the wrong team) and Camo with my Iowa Hawkeyes taking on Sparty of Michigan State.

Big four at the Big Ten game.

It was one of the best days of my life even though Sparty won in the literal last second of the game.

All the after morning feels.

Four days upon returning home from that game, I was pushed out of a career that I’d worked my ass off to obtain in the music business. Eleven days after that, I experienced the worst Christmas of my life – a day I cherish (almost as much as my birthday) due to family dynamics shifting and my unwillingness to accept it. Less than one month later, a woman who was like a little sister to me died in a car accident. That evening, I went to my best friend’s house and was raped by her boyfriend.

That period of time was as beautiful as I look in this photo.

The day I was at the hospital awaiting my rape kit to be performed, I was asked if I’d like an advocate to come sit with me. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t because as my bare ass was hanging out of the back of a hospital gown, I was in a state of shock. An advocate was called on my behalf. Aside from her beyond sweet demeanor, her name being Barbie (I mean, c’mon!), her fabulous Louis Vuitton purse (obvies the right advocate for me), she said something that still rings true to this day.

“There will be a before rape in your life. And there will be an after rape.” A before and after. Seems like a simple enough concept but I did not comprehend then how fucking true this would be in my daily life moving forward.

The Before: last selfie I took before Rapegate.

The After: first selfie taken after Rapegate.

It’s now been 616 days since the saga of Rapegate began. At first it was all-consuming, eating me up – a worm in my brain, invading every moment of my sleep, thoughts, feelings – I had no idea that I might as well have been standing at the bottom of Mount Everest, readying to climb 29,029 feet with zero conditioning. Because that’s what this last year and over a half has dealt…an excruciatingly slow climb out of (or rather up) the lowest of extreme lows, seeking the summit of a mountain top that appeared further and further away by the day.

What happens when I hike.

Thing is, life goes on all around even though time stands still for victims of any sort of trauma. For me, I was stuck on January 29, 2016 but I still had a job to find, bills to pay, fur ball mouths to feed and personal hygiene to maintain (this took much insisting from Mrs. America and my sister). I just wanted to wallow on my leopard couch and have it swallow me whole but of course that didn’t fucking happen.

Not so fresh and so clean clean.

With the support and love from my family, friends, and readers of this blog (my sparkly army), I was encouraged to put one (semi-clean) foot in front of the other and got into counseling. I tirelessly acted as my own advocate with a less than helpful (and that description is extremely nice) detective, found a job, kept my lights on, was diagnosed with PTSD, adjustment disorder and severe stress and stumbled forward.

I don’t wanna but I’m gonna!

Through what felt like a continuous avalanche in my life, I put on the happiest face possible and plowed forward. Although, everything had less meaning, was less fun, was just not right. I went to my fave watering hole Dalts, invited girlfriends over, tried to read books but couldn’t remember the page I just read, watched TV only to forget what the episode was about as my mind couldn’t stay focused, stopped going to yoga and jogging due to not being able to be alone with my thoughts – because the aftermath of Rapegate was never far.

SAY WHAT?

Trying to trudge through life, every step felt like I was moving through snow waist deep. Yet again, life stops for no one. Aunt Crazy Pants was diagnosed with terminal cancer almost six months to the day after I was raped. She passed just a little over a month ago, ten days after I suddenly lost the fur ball love of my life, Ted. The searing losses felt like a hot iron had been stabbed into my chest. I’d never experienced the throes of despair (navigating my way out of Rapegate), alongside devastating, life altering grief (losing those we deeply love) at the same time.

There’s not enough wine for this.

While I was home for ACP’s celebration of life, I had an opportunity to go tailgating with my Uncle Toddy, Aunt Crispie, my cousins and their many friends at the in state rivalry of Iowa versus Iowa State. It was a thrillingly unexpected day jam-packed with tailgating shenanigans.

The fun of family…

Mama CBXB, Uncle Toddy and Aunt Crispie host tailgating done right.

Friendly family rivalry.

OR WAS IT?!

The fun of the endless booze all around…

I hate tailgating.

The classiness of passing time while waiting to use the port-a-potties…

Shotski for three please.

The catching up with old friends…

Game ready.

Having to ask your uncle if there’s anyone he’s friends with in his season ticket section just in case I embarrass him with my loudness…

A beauty and a sparkly beast.

Embarrassing my youngest cousin with all the right moves…

Cousin love is acceptable below the Mason Dixon line.

Seeing a live marching band was fulfilled for the season…

March on.

Up close and personal for the live action overtime win didn’t suck!

End zone win baby!

Afterward, I realized how much fucking fun I truly had that day. I lived in the moment for the first time in almost two years – at yet another football game. I didn’t think about anything other than what I was partaking in every. single. second. The bands marching through the tailgates. The booze. The Hawkeye buses arriving. The booze. The food. The booze. The rivalry. The family and friends I was enjoying the fuck out of spending time with. The game I got to watch from the end zone and the exciting win by the Hawks in overtime.

Some cousins took it well.

Others were sore losers.

Point is, for a brief day I got a taste of what it will be like when I transfer from survivor to thriver. I felt normal. I felt the fun I was experiencing. I felt like pre-rape me for once in almost two years. And it was fucking fantastic, freeing and I caught a glimpse of my old self starting to shine through the cracks I still carry.

Fist forward.

The Hawkeyes are almost always considered the underdogs. And it’s not lost on me that both the last and first time I realized I was living in the moment were at football games, watching my favorite team with some of my favorite people.

It was a much needed reminder that I’m doing the best that I can every goddamn day. Aren’t we all?

Happy tailgating!

CBXB