Weekend Winks – Surprises, Six Degrees and Slaying

This shade of black really brings out the color of my soul.

God I love a t-shirt that speaks for me.

Open for fun.

My aunt flew in to surprise my dad for a mini retirement celebration. It was pretty fucking fabulous.

The par-tay train headed downtown to honky tonk on Broadway.

The Bat Building never gets old.

Robert’s Western World never gets old.

Arriving late after gussying up, as soon as my ass hit the bar stool in Robert’s, I got a message from an old school friend asking if I happened to be around. Seeing as Music City has 100 fucking people moving to the city every.single.day (please for the love of god, STOP MOVING HERE. Come visit, spend some cash and get the fuck out) Nashvillians going downtown is about as rare as a man being falsely accused of rape. So like, 99.9% never.

Downtown used to be a fun hang every so often but now, it’s asses to elbows everywhere. So it was Kismet that I happened to be in a bar right across the street from my old buddy, who still resides in Iowa. He was visiting for work and just thought he’d reach out. As kids, our families would camp (yes, I actually camped (ew) before I knew glamping was a thing) and one of our fave activities was going around Wilson’s Lake and collecting pop cans that we’d turn in for a refund at Cheese’s grocery store. Redeeming five cents per can, I thought we were going to be thousandaires as we packed garbage after garbage bag full of aluminum. I think we each ended up with about $50. Still not bad for 10 year olds.

Six degrees of CBXB.

When I went to meet up with his crew, I didn’t know anyone else at the table. But within the 30 minutes I chit chatted, I somehow had a connection to or through or knew someone they knew at the table. My friend came across the street to say hey to Dada CBXB who, prior to his move to Nashville (and retirement), was a teacher and coach of some sort for over 30 years.

Old school.

Naturally we did what all teachers and coaches do when they reunite with former students.

Shots.

I mean, you know I have an ever classy fam.

Blurred lines.

Saturday came early for my Iowa twins, who were frying up a donut storm.

Then they decided to create costumes since the weather was kinda shitty.

If you guessed bats, you’d be right.

Inspired by my mini bakers, my lazy ass decided to get out a new pancake mix I picked up. Mostly because it was gluten free but really because all it takes is 2/3 cup of the mix and 3/4 cup of water.

Betty.Fucking.Crocker.

My Iowa Hawkeyes had a 2:30 kick off, so I sauntered out to Dada CBXB’s and watched my dudes school the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Hawks won 48-31. You know what that meant….six rounds of our classy Family Tradition.

I’m not good at math but I couldn’t fit six pics into my cute photo collage.

It also meant that the Floyd of Rosedale rivalry trophy will reside another year with my favorite birds.

The pig stays in the Hawkeye State.

After the welcomed distraction of a win, it remained consistently hard to escape the painful thoughts that have been swirling around my noggin for the last three weeks, as America’s attitude toward rape culture continues to shock the ever living hell out of me.

It’s sad. It’s so sad. So much so that I’ve turned to eating my pain away. Which isn’t working for my brain as much as it is my already ample ass.

I’ll have five pounds of wings, please. No, really, we had five pounds of wings. And Shit Dip that was already inhaled when this photo was snapped. And like one celery stick.

We welcomed Sunday by washing Saturday away with margaritas at our fave Mexican joint.

Tasty treats.

Accompanied by what felt like 482 lbs of food after I scarfed my feelings food down.

Another side of salsa, please.

Of course no self care Sunday would be complete without my personal bible, People magazine, and a dip in bubbles.

To those of you weary to the motherfucking bone after the past few weeks, know that it’s OK to feel that way. To those of you who are confused after the past few weeks, know that it’s OK to feel that way. To those of you who feel hopeless after the past few weeks, that’s not OK.

You matter.

The next generation matters.

K. Thanks. Bye.

CBXB

CBXB!

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

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

Just me, over here in my Hawkeye sequins jersey.

Overboard much?

I hate the Iowa Hawkeyes, obvies.

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

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

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

I reacted with real class.

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

HUG ME ALREADY.

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

 

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

Four’s a crowd.

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

Move over bitches. He’s all mine.

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

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

How could this day get any more exciting?

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

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

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

Birthday girl sandwich.

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

Too excited to sleep.

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

Saturday sun soak.

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

Different version of Frozen.

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

Big money for Prince B.

Princess B headed straight to the Dollar Tree.

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

Who doesn’t love boxed wine and wings?

Positions assumed.

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

Five Family Tradition winning shots, baby.

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

What shots?

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

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

For like, a full five minutes.

I mean, I had fab karma going on.

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Summer Swirldown

How in the fuck is it the middle of September already? I mean, south of the Mason-Dixon Line we’re hitting 90 degrees today,
so it still feels like July. However, I am ready for all things Hallothanksgivingmas to commence and you can bet your ass I’m beyond thrilled college football is in full swing.

The tests of life were full throttle over the sweltering months of heat and while I tried to remain armored and ready to fight, I found myself more than exhausted.

*most of the time*

Much of the summer was spent lounging on my leopard couch with The Pussy Posse, admiring my seasonal celebration tree adorned with flamingos and sunglasses.

Yep. That’s Cousin Eddie’s camper beneath the tree.

 

 

 

The first punch of summer was coming home to the mini manse one Monday after work, finding my sweet Precious had passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. She was the last link to my “old” (aka pre-Rapegate life) and losing her really took one of the last pieces of my sparkly black heart.

Ted and Presh reunited over the rainbow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course loss is a way of life, and with the horrible, comes the fabulous. One of my fave peeps, 5 Degrees, flew me to Phoenix to par-tay over the Fourth of July.

I have the best friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I packed my leopard print suitcase (which still isn’t unpacked all the way – 5D, does that make your OCD skin crawl?!) and took my American Bad Ass south, not being able to wait to get the fuck out of Dodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was able to not only cut loose with 5D and my beloved gal pal, Dumpy, I also was able to finally sleep. Instead of a puke and rally like performed in college days, I napped and rallied. In the middle of the party, I went to my bedroom, slept a few hours, work up and started all over.

A gent, a lady and an ass clown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After gracing Phoenix with my presence, Rasta and I celebrated Nashville Pride by having duct tape slapped over our loud mouths. Kidding. It was for the NoH8 campaign.

I know many of you would like me to wear this tape daily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best lazy days are spent at the pool and I put hard time in over the summer.

Pool days for days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girls just wanna have sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that I’m moving along in PTSD recovery, I can actually concentrate and read again without forgetting what I just read when I turn the page. I’ve immersed myself in books thanks to Sister CBXB, sending me all the good reads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I wasn’t at the pool reading, I was in the bubbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of reading, my Iowa twins started kindergarten. Fucking kindergarten!

Two tall weeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not excited about it at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After twirling myself down to the concrete and gaining a concussion, I hobbled around like a 92-year-old with a broken hip (when I really just had- have- a broken toe).

The Steven Tyler of cane decorators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While rest proved to be just what the body ordered, it was the time of year where I could either choose to celebrate life or grieve in sadness as the first anniversaries of the lost loves came. The magnitude of losing my best friend just hasn’t gone away. The time has helped to ease the heaviness in my heart but there really isn’t anything that helps with the void of our daily routine. And how he was always there when I came home from Rapegate therapy every Thursday as I cried in my closet – he never left my side. Holy fuck was I lucky to be his mama. I can’t wait to see him again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first anniversary of the passing of Aunt Crazy Pants was a cruel reminder that I have yet to realize that she’s actually gone. I didn’t see her every day or talk to her every day but I sure as fuck still think to pick up the phone and call to bitch about a bad day or ask how to what the fuck shallots are for some ludicrous recipe because I’m no genius in the kitchen. While tears were shed, Mama CBXB, First Mate, Bird Lady and myself cheersed to ACP at the Cheesecake Factory with her fave cocktail, a Gin Rickey.

Celebrating ACP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, we shopped for shoes and sipped champagne at Tory Burch.

Cheers to the life lived.

 

 

One of the end-of-summer highlights…I, most likely along with every other customer, received a VIP card to my beloved Dalts. Which, in my opinion, I should have received 100 years ago.

About fucking time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best part of the swirl down of summer? It’s the start of college football season, bitches. And Coach Kirk Ferentz of my Iowa Hawkeyes is not only celebrating his 20th year as Iowa’s head coach, he’s also the longest tenured coach in college football and just nabbed the all-time wins as an Iowa coach, surpassing Hayden Fry.

 

 

You know what football season means…it’s time for weekly tailgates with Dada CBXB!

Family tradition touchdown shot time!

 

 

 

 

Feeling a little stuck in the middle of muck this summer, the rest, family, friends and fur balls have kept me plugging along.

Stuck in the middle…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’m ready to tackle (pun intended) the rest of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love ya, mean it.

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Freezing! Fiesta! Football! Fun!

One of the joys of living in a city that isn’t equipped to handle any type of winter weather, is it’s kinda fun when it comes. Freezing rain on Friday meant that I was able to slide out of work and into my bed for a day of conference calls and cat naps (the cats, not me of course).

When you’re given the option to work from home…

YOU TAKE IT.

No one was excited about it at all.

My mom checked in from Iowa to make sure I was all set with necessities because it’s a fucking freak out frenzy when there is even mention of the “s” word – SNOW. Nashville citizens (and anyone else who didn’t grow up above the Mason Dixon Line) all but lose their goddamned minds.

While I was hunkered down with my pussies Saturday, my Iowa twins were getting hyped up to par-tay. Why you ask? Because they are turning five – FIVE – FUCKING FIVE YEARS OLD – on Wednesday. I mean holy fucking shit how did this happen so fast?

FIVE!

Due to the fact that Princess B eats salsa like its soup, the day was a fiesta complete with the best cakes on the planet.

Crazy over cake.

My artsy sis even crafted a pinata for the occasion.

FUCKING FIVE.

Fiesta fun!

Naturally, there were outfit choices to be made and Princess B did not disappoint.

Just a little gussy up.

Nor did she get any salsa on the sequins.

I finally mustered up the energy to walk over to Rasta’s pad on Saturday night, forcing myself out into the blustery cold I’m not used to anymore. Speaking of force, Rasta isn’t a football fan of any sort and I made her watch the Titans game in her own house.

I’m so sweet.

While I drank her wine.

Tailgate City.

My Titans were playing actual football titans, the New England Patriots and so I was hoping for at least a touchdown. And we scored one first! Then, just as quickly as that happened, my dudes ended up getting an ass beating. Rasta kept up with the team spirit though, assisting me through the horrendous game.

She’s officially my wine coach now.

Yeah, it was that bad.

She wins the sportsmanship award for sure.

Football fun.

I was up at what felt like the ass crack of dawn on Sunday to watch a segment on CBS Sunday Morning. It was regarding the Time’s Up movement and Oprah interviewed several prominent women who helped initiate the campaign. Being that I take great interest in this due to Rapegate and the #MeToo movement, I expected support from my pussies.

Only one showed the fuck up.

#whywewearblack

The others were busy having a menage à trois in the unmade bed.

Thanks for the support, assholes.

While watching other NFL playoff games, I started to take down the few Christmas decorations I put up this year and toyed with the idea of Valentine’s Day. But promptly stopped after dressing my Glamingo.

I also somehow came across a hideous Pucci hat that a lady who thought she was famous and was my boss at the time gave me as a leftover present (she would regift her unwanted Christmas presents to me for my birthday in March). You want it? It’s yours.

Her exact positioning and expression in every photo.

After throwing one helluva classy fiesta, my sister pulled through in our white trash ways when storing leftovers.

After getting her text, I was craving Mexican and justlikethat First Mate sent a text wanting to meet up for wine at our fave joint. Talk about fate.

We come for the handsome pours of wine, not the margaritas.

The Minnesota Vikings game (which was one of the best last second endings ever) was on at the restaurant. The fans chant skol and my sister and I were confused as to what it meant. We had an Iowa-Tennessee-Georgia family tutorial via text from my cousin Tballs – a huge Vikings fan.

My guess of “yeehaw” was way off.

After heading home with a belly full of wine, salsa and chips, I settled in for a night cap.

A literal night cap.

Here’s hoping your week is full of fiesta-ish fun.

SKOL!

CBXB

 

 

 

 

Weekend Winks – The Buck Stops Here

You know those weekends that you think are going to be low key? Mine started out on Friday with a heavy pour of pinot noir and snuggle down with the fur balls.

Wine down Friday.

Saturday rolled around and I could hardly get out of the bed, even though it was an Iowa Hawkeye game day.

Caturday canoodling.

I mean, with lay outs like the one below, I decided to crawl back into the throne and frolic with the fur balls.

A king almost falling off a queen sized bed.

The Hawks were going to play a number three ranked Ohio State University (whom I loathe, have always loathed and will continue to loathe forever and ever amen. Maybe it’s because you’re supposed to say THE Ohio State University…maybe it’s because they seem to piss every major bowl game down their leg, maybe it’s their cockiness….you choose). Dada CBXB and I almost didn’t get together because my he was having his cable worked on and we weren’t sure it’d be done by the game. I also think we both figured that being the 20 point underdogs, it may be the most boring game of the Hawkeye season.

Cheerleading from bed.

A game against THE Ohio State University several years ago is the reason we started taking touch down shots (to keep the games more interesting for us Hawk fans when we scored maybe one touchdown per game).

Then this gem of a text rolled in from my sister. Who, may I note, lives about 25 fucking minutes from the University of Iowa and Kinnick Stadium where kick off takes place. EVERY. SINGLE. Saturday she asks:

A) Who the Hawks play

B) What time the game starts

I, in turn, always love asking her who the Tennessee Titans play. Her guess this time goes back to when our dad played for the Baltimore Colts (who are now located in Indianapolis for you non sports fans). She’s a huge football fan, obvies.

I got all game day gussied up and headed out to watch what was possibly going to be the worst ass beating in the history of our team. It’s not that I don’t have faith in my Hawkeyes – I do – however, it’s sometimes heartbreaking being a fan because when we’re bad we’re very, very bad and when we’re good we rock.

On my way!

The game started and as I was saying, “Jeez it’s really lou-…” the Hawks got a pick six and scored for a touch down eight seconds into the game.

“At least we lead once this game,” said Dada CBXB.

Then, something miraculous happened and Iowa scored again.

Surprisingly a second shot as Dada said, “Well, at least we lead some of the game.”

Shot three game and we were silly with excitement.

NO ONE thought we’d have four touchdowns on THE Ohio State University during the first half (let alone the entire game).

Colin Cowherd, a sports media personality with his own pod cast hates the Hawkeyes with a passion. Even when Iowa had a perfect 12-0 season two years ago, he found holes to poke. Well, he taunted with a Tweet during halftime….

….SUCK IT Colin, ’cause the Hawkeyes kept on steam rolling. Cowherd really does owe everyone at the Deadwood bar in Iowa City a PBR.

We were ultra prepared for an OSU comeback in the second half but instead, the Hawkeyes kept on trucking and gave our livers a run for their money.

Shot fucking 5?!

Holy SIXTH!

Our reputation precedes us, as even our loyal Facebook touchdown shot counters noticed we had posted nothing during the entire game, as we typically document each shot taken.

HEY-OH we posted the last shot taken of the game!

THE BUCK STOPS HERE at shot seven.

With a final score of 55-24, all of the Iowa fans rushed the field…

…as did yours truly, only virtually.

I mean, how could I miss out on a moment like this – that will most likely never happen again?

Victory shot for good measure, along with how the rest of the night felt.

Even the Internet took notice over the ass beating we handed THE Ohio State University.

Being that I thought I would be sober Sally upon the completion of the game, I didn’t pack a bag to stay at dad’s….but I who am I kidding? I wouldn’t have changed out of my Hawkeye gear anyhow. I may or may not still be in my game day clothes and I may or may not change out of them until we lose again.

Not ashamed of this walk of shame.

Here’s hoping you’re having a week as high as I’m feeling. My head is still in the clouds because the buck stopped here.

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