The Lights That Guide You Home

It’s fucking insane that my kick ass Aunt Crazy Pants has been partying up above for nearly 365 days. Some moments, it feels like two years ago but mostly I still forget and think to pick up the phone to text or call and then remember I can only communicate via the red bird, a cardinal.

A song s-t-u-c-k in my brain like a worm the last couple of days has been “Fix You” by Coldplay from their X&Y album (if you haven’t heard it, stop what you’re doing and go download it or,  for those of you a tad more technologically challenged, click on the pink “Fix You” words above for a link to the video – you’re welcome. Now listen to it before reading the rest of this post).

I’ll wait.

Still waiting. (Uncle Toddy, have Gma’s second favorite grandchild help you. Mama CBXB, I will help you. Uncle Lew, you’re fucked unless Aunt Patti knows how to do it.)

OK, then.

In honor of Aunt Crazy Pants, raise those gin rickey’s (or Black Velvet and Diet 7Up, whichever you’re feeling) 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

CBXB

 

The Colbert Report

Tokens of appreciation can go along way. So, too, can the tokens of absolute strangers who help make magic happen.

As many of you readers know, I lost my Aunt Crazy Pants to fucking lung cancer last September. Her son, R. Nasty became her primary caretaker and together, they watched The Late Show With Stephen Colbert every evening – in fact, it was one of the last things they ever did together.

It was also something I got to watch the last time I partied with ACP.

Colbert Time!

Ever since her passing, my sister and I had been working on how to solidify tickets for R. Nasty to attend the show. You know, kind of a way to honor his mom. Through letters and emails and contacts and friends and acquaintances of friends and husbands of wives who work at Conan O’Brien, who had a friend who writes for The Colbert Show, WE GOT TICKETS.

Don’t mind if we do!

VIP to be braggy.

While R. Nasty resides in Iowa and I am in Nashville, we decided it would be super easy to meet up at LaGuardia Airport because what could possibly go wrong? Naturally, upon my landing an hour ahead of him, I selfied the fuck out of myself and sent it to all of my friends and family.

R. Nasty and I were only two terminals away from one another, so what I thought would take hours, took mere minutes to find one another after he landed. It was the non-city slickers in us that needed aid. So I texted Rasta, the gal pal who was extremely instrumental with our VIP ticket grab, how to get an Uber in NYC. I mean, there are Ubers and Lyfts in Nashville but you walk right out of the baggage claim and BAM there is no way to fuck it up.

So Rasta guided us on how to get on the bus that would drop us off at the parking lot where an Uber we called would be waiting on us. This city shit was already hard.

But we did it!

Upon checking into the hotel (that I made R. Nasty pay for naturally, after surprising him with tickets, making him cough up cash for shit), I immediately checked on a bottle of Tennessee champagne I had packed carefully in my luggage to celebrate this momentous occasion (you guys, R.Nasty and I don’t get out much – neither of us has been to a city bigger than Chicago, k?).

Who doesn’t put champs in their suitcase?

Once we guzzled drank the champs dry, we unpacked and here’s what our bathroom counter looked like…

My accessories at the top of The Economist vs. his one accessory which was The Economist.

We decided to giddy up and check out the area – Manhattan – to be exact, which I thought would look a helluva lot fancier than it did. But I’m from Nashville, so what the fuck do I know? What I DO know is to ask for recommendations and my social media buddy, suggested a fab place called Faces and Names.

Fabulous find compliments of a fellow Captain@sgrstk – and if you don’t follow him or have never read his books, go do so right now.

We were kind of excited to be there. And when I asked R.Nasty if he was having fun, he responded with “Yeah, this is kinda fun.” To which I kindly replied – YOU WILL AND ARE HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.

Not excited. At all.

We had libations in honor of our first time in NYC, talking about ACP and just chit chatting about whatever the fuck you typically do when you are getting a bit buzzed.

Cheersed!

…and cheersed…

… aaaaaand cheersed.

So as we stumbled marched out of the bar to explore more of the block (I mean, my feet already hurt), what did before my wondering eyes did appear?

Destination Station!

Not being in the least bit full of any ounce of shame, it was selfie time.

Theater selfie fail #1.

Due to the length of my arm being about as tall as an earthworm, we had to do round two.

Theater selfie fail #2.

Satisfied with shitty selfies, we went back to the hotel room for wine and snacks in preparation for the one and most likely only day of our lives we would be VIPs.

Tidiness runs in the family. Obvies.

I must say the kink in my neck remains at my incessant gawking at all of the buildings and signs and bicyclists who give zero fucks if you are walking in their pathway. I also very narrowly missed my death about 536 times by stepping off of a cub almost too soon which would have resulted in my demise by a yellow taxi cab.

Daylight theater.

What do good tourists do when heading to their fave late show? They do as tourists do and eat at there.

The restaurant of Mr. Colbert’s choice, or so I like to think.

I also continued my unabashed selfie taking because what’s a memory without a photo?

Not a tourist at all.

R.Nasty and I sipped on cocktails and waited for our 4pm call time to stand in the VIP (I did mention we were VIPs, right?) lane at Angelo’s watching all of the little people who only had priority seating. The horror.

 

We straight up VIP, yo!

And naturally I needed to document with a selfie as well.

Yep. Proof we’re VIPs.

We also had Aunt Crazy Pants with us. Lest not forget the things all mothers and daughters bond over, tattoos – Mama CBXB and I had ACP’s signature inked onto our wrists (yes, I know we are now complete bad asses) over her first birthday weekend above us.

Lucky charm in tow.

Then it was time to enter the theater that makes me want an entrance to my mini manse in lights now.

Before I made my national television debut, the warm up comedian came out and picked on audience members. R. Nasty was beyond relieved that we were seated middle balcony but don’t worry, I was loud enough to get picked out of the crowd. As we were being interviewed, the comedian asked where we were from and if we were married. I said no, we’re cousins but since I’m from Tennessee, we could be.

Yeah, R. Nasty could have died. Of course I hated the attention and laughs.

The could be our wedding photo.

The show started and the anticipation was beyond expectation. It was super fucking cool seeing Stephen Colbert run out from behind stage left and to the crowd slapping high fives. He delivered his monologue and the guests were a very beautiful but boring Lucy Liu and an engaging Henry Winkler.

Oh and you won’t be one bit surprised that my family and friends who tuned in that evening heard me laughing more than they saw me. Only because I have the loudest laugh on the planet….and you could only see the back of my head.

No autographs please.

If there’s any take away from all of the whirlwind 36 hours I spent in NYC with R. Nasty, it’s that the experience we shared together is irreplaceable. I’ve typically lived my life as an as afterward kind of gal, a chick that just jumps in if something sounds fun and I’m so fucking glad I was able to share this with R.Nasty who deserved to get the hell outta Iowa and cut loose (side note, I needed to get the fuck out of Nashville and have some of my own fun as well).

The Infamous Iowan and the Trashy Tennessean.

So if you’re ever contemplating what you should be doing, or if you can swing that trip (hey, I packed hard-boiled eggs and protein bars – AND booze) do what Barb would do…

Love ya, mean it Aunt Crazy Pants. We all miss you something terrible but we’re living it up with you watching over us down here.

Cheers!

CBXB

 

Lucky Charm

Cinderella once sang “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”

I’m talking about the hair metal 80s band, not the princess of course.

I think we all can relate to the sentiment in one way or another. However, when it comes to peeps in my life that I love, you’re either in or out. One quality that I gratefully possess is I am never regretful of time spent with folks that I hold in my heart, nor do I take time with them for granted. That’s why for me, when you love the fuck out of someone and they no longer roam the earth, it can be a heart yanking time when their milestones still appear annually.

Aunt Crazy Pants celebrated her first birthday above on February 23, and in honor of this occasion, Mama CBXB came to Nashville and we par-tayed the only we way our family ever does. Trashtacularly.

On ACP’s actual day of birth, we took her to get her cocktail of choice, gin rickeys, at my fave local watering hole, Dalts.

A hungover day later, we went to get permanent tributes of the lady whose favorite color was green, loved shamrocks and owned one of the most unique signatures ever, which is what we were going to have tattooed on our wrists. I gussied up in my green heels I fashioned at the celebration of ACP’s life, perfected my mani to match and we were ready to go.

Naked and afraid.

While mother/daughter bonding over tattoos may seem odd to you, it’s sort of a family tradition in my clan (which should shock no one hence Jell-O shots with Gma at Christmas and Iowa Hawkeye moonshine touchdown shots are also custom family practices, well shared on this blog).

In summers of yesteryear, our families would spend Fourth of Julys at the Lake of the Ozarks. Which entailed not only in boating and booze but often tattoos and belly button piercings. Yes, yes, you read that right. I even think we made each new girlfriend of our dude cousins get belly button rings on their first Fourth with us. (A dream come true family that acts like a fraternity right here folks).

I was with ACP when she got her first ink from none other than the not even close to being world famous Tattoo Ted in the Ozarks.

We may have had one or eight drinks with sun poisoning but what did it matter?

With our history of classiness, we brought ACP along with us in spirit as Mama CBXB and I rolled into the Rebel Yell Tattoo and Social Club that came highly recommended.

When we traipsed through the doors, I’m fairly certain all four folks in the shop on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon were well aware that this wasn’t a past time in which we often partook. Especially when I wondered aloud with Justin, our extremely patient artist, how a tattoo on my wrist would look when I do jazz hands. Because I use them a lot. Like, we seriously had a five-minute conversation about it, he put a stencil on my wrist with ACP’s name facing me and let me look in a mirror before I decided how I wanted the fucking three-inch artwork done.

I mean you guys. Obvies we use them.

All.the.time.

Maybe our novice was a dead giveaway when I asked my mom 400 times in the seven minutes it took Justin to tattoo her wrist if she was going to cry when it was over (she did – Tearfest 2018).

My defense mechanism against physical pain is apparently laughing because it’s all I did the entire time my four-minute ink was being perfected. Justin kept stopping to ask if I was OK and all I could do was giggle in the most unquiet way possible.

All in all, mission accomplished.

Shortest time frame yet most annoying tattoo subject ever to grace Rebel Yell.

Getting any type of tattoo makes one a bad ass motherfucker, right?

I mean, look at my recovery plastic.

So what did these bad ass mother fuckers do? Celebrated with cocktails of course!

And it just so happened that two of ACP’s grandgirls came through Nashville that night, so we all cheersed our hearts out to the lady we love and miss.

Bittersweet without sharing the experience with ACP, there’s something ultra comforting to know she’s right here on my wrist. There have been some dark days for me recently, and I’ve found myself flipping my wrist over, admiring her signature, reminiscing on conversations, knowledge, 1,573,982,400 laughs and love we shared over her lifetime.

What I come to think of most is right after Rapegate, ACP was one of the first phone calls I received as the news made its way through my family. Her first words were, “you’re already one helluva strong lady – but you’ll be the strongest woman you know now.” The same words rang true when we found out she had terminal cancer six months later – and I repeated her words of wisdom back to her.

While cancer can go fuck itself, I’m comforted by the fact that I knew what I had with ACP before she was gone. Which is why her absence is ever present, more so now that I’m a bad ass mother fucker with a fancy signature on my wrist.

Know what you’ve got before it’s gone.

Now who wants to go get tattoo sleeves with me?

It could be the experience of your lifetime.

CBXB

Griswold Family Style Fourth of July

Driving a boat at Lake of the Ozarks…

Party Chick

…is a party girl from Tennessee.

Party Girl

As cousins gather every Fourth…

Cousins

…to be with family

The Griswolds

From Jell-O shots…

Jell-O

…with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

Constant fights over the mic…

Mic Fight

to sing karaoke.

Karoake King

Trivial Pursuit winners, always reign supreme!

Winners!

From new tattoos…

Tattoo

…to pool dunks…

Dunk

…with drunken dancers around a hunk.

Hunk

Our favorite toy is the aqua bar…

Aqua Bar

…that prevents us from floating too far.

Floater

 I’m proud to be from my family!

Family

Where at least I can be me.

Beerpoo

And they never, ever let me forget

Just how handy my booty can be.

Handy

Cousins blowing their muscles up…

Blow Hards

…next to me

Muscles

so I won’t cry and feel left out.

Cry Baby

There ain’t no doubt I love my clan –

Clan

Thank God for my family!

Fam

Here’s hoping your version of the Griswolds has a safe and booze filled 4th.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

 

Weekend Winks

Alcohol, tattoos and Kid Rock can always turn things around, right?

Does this Jim Beam tattoo make me look like an alchoholic?

Does this Jim Beam tattoo add to my full on classiness?

I was pretty sure my weekend was in the pisser with a flat tire, a nasty cold and a forgotten concert outfit at home Friday morning.

Weekend off to a flat start

Off to a flat start…

But fabulous friends whiplashed me back into my maniacal state about my hot date with Kid Rock and his 15,000 closest Nashville fans.

All aboard for the Kid Train!

All aboard for the Kid train!

Pumped about my 10th (yes 10th!) row seats, I had to run in and check them out in between Jim Beam cocktails.

A perfect 10

A perfect 10.

But how in the world was I going to be the apple of Kid Rock’s eye? By inking myself up, of course.

help!

Is this going to hurt?

Help!

Somebody hold my hand, damn it!

Did I mention that this was a henna tattoo?

Totally classy

All fun and no permanency for this commitment phobe.

But I did feel like quite the bad ass with my kickin’ eagle tattoo.

blah

After all of my classy arm primping, I still didn’t catch Mr. Rock’s attention.

hello

Hello! Over here with the arm tat!

But I scored something even better than a glimpse from Kid … maneuvering up to the front row…..!

BEST

Holy Shit!

Where I proceeded to lose my f’ing mind, driver’s license and check card (come to find out as I was trying to get into a bar after the show – but don’t worry a nice doorman let me in to party even though I don’t look a day over 20) as I raised the roof (like the whitest chick in the world) with my favorite rocker.

I pledge allegiance to the kid

I pledge allegiance to The Kid.

As usual, Teddy sensed my pain on Saturday and selfishly insisted I spend the rest of the weekend with him.

Feeling my pain

Feeling my discomfort. Smart cat.

After a bag full of favorite food from my own personal Cheers (it’s heaven – they deliver!), Ted and I mustered enough energy to sit up on the couch.

thanks you

My stomach rejoiced in grease.

Even though our necks still hurt from headbanging…

Rocked out...

Rocked out.

And while I still require a hand on my chin to alleviate my sore neck, I’m tattoo free and fully re-hydrated today.

Until next weekend…

CBXB

CBXB!