“Some girls are made of sugar and spice,
Kentucky girls are made of bourbon and ice.”
Yes, bourbon and blood run in equal parts through my veins, but lately I have felt the need to go beyond the “boozing broad” persona and redefine exactly what it means for me to be a Bourbonista.
Don’t get me wrong, I will still be imbibing on a regular basis, unless my liver demands otherwise, but from now on being a Bourbonista will be as much about exhibiting the spirit of that spirit as drinking copious amounts of it. In short, it’s as much about the attitude as the alcohol.
So, I’m stepping out the box I accidentally built around myself and offering you a bigger and better definition of the word. Here you go…
Like the distilled beverage for which she is named, a Bourbonista is:
- Strong, at least 80 proof.
- Southern, primarily from Kentucky.
- Versatile. Has recreational, practical, and medicinal uses.
- Intoxicating. Livens up any occasion.
- Layered, with sweet, spicy, earthy, smooth, refreshing, rich, and intense aspects.
- Resilient. Vibrations, movement, and pressure only serve to add depth and additional flavors, so Bourbonistas open themselves up to the universe, travel, and say yes to change and challenges.
- And perhaps most important, grows more complex, desired, and valuable with maturity.
A Bourbonista Unabridged can be both bohemian and balanced, fabulous and focused, and awesome and authentic.
So to alleviate the concern that was voiced by many of you, I have not yet gone full-on “Shining” and started stalking the neighborhood with an axe. However, for much of the last two weeks, I have been lying on the couch, unshowered with my hair held back by a chip clip, watching back to back to back reruns of Criminal Minds; eating anything and everything labeled "salted caramel"; drinking cheap red wine straight out of the bottle; and writing haikus, like:
I wander the woods,
Searching for the perfect tree,
To hang myself from.
I’m fully aware that I probably won’t get much sympathy. After all, I get to live on a lake full time with a loving husband while pursuing my dream of becoming a writer. Seems damn near perfect…right? Wrong. There’s a whole lot about living on Bohemian Bay that sucks slippery catfish balls. Alright, I don’t know if catfish have balls, but I do know that I am ready to go on a guilt-free rant. Tomorrow, I’ll count my blessings, embrace life’s lessons, and make a list of all the things I’m grateful for. But today, I will list all the shit that is bringing m down and pissing me off.
1) This lake is owned by KU, which means they can do whatever the hell they want with it. Currently, they have decided to drop the water level one foot per day, which translates to three feet on land meaning we are having to build a new set of stairs every 48 hours.
2) The safety rails can’t keep up with the step construction, so going up and down them is fricking terrifying.
3) At 720 feet, we technically could hit bottom, and then will have to find a place to move our house for the winter.
4) What used to be a lush, green shoreline now looks like Mordor. And, especially at night, is creepy as all get out and dangerous to traverse, so I am worried to death about the dogs.
5) On that topic, if God forbid, something happened to one of the dogs or us, the only way out is Satan’s Stairs since both pontoons are currently out of commission and in the shop getting fixed, which ain’t cheap.
6) The solitary path to civilization includes said Satan’s Stairs—at last count 160—then a steep rock trail, then a winding mulch path to a gravel driveway. Long and unfriendly describes it best.
7) I use the word civilization loosely, unless I want to head all the way to Danville, there is only the Village Inn restaurant or Dollar General store.
8) When I do get to town to fetch my sundries and such, I have to haul them all the way back down the hill—bag by bag.
9) Frank works about sixty hours a week, so I’m alone the majority of the time.
10) Normally, I would compensate by connecting on social media but there is no high-speed internet, and one can only stand so much buffering before they spontaneously combust. Scientific fact.
11) Why not just give someone a call? In order to do so, I have to sit in one certain spot on the front porch, facing north, completely still, and with my right hand on my left tit, while making sure no one opens the freezer door.
12) In addition to my two dogs and three cats, Frank volunteered me to foster a six-month old lab with teeth like steel who thinks everything is a toy, except her actual toys. She has the face of an angel and the manners of Attila the Hun.
13) Here’s the real kicker…Burgin is dry, so I can’t even belly up to a bar and drown my sorrows.
All ranted out. Damn, I feel a little better. Thanks for listening. I promise my next blog will be so upbeat that kitten-scented rainbows will fly off the page and give you a hug.
Four years ago today, I made my original wedding vows to one Frank Rose. Of course, I would marry him all over again, but after forty-eight months of matrimonial bliss, my vows would be a little less Hallmark romantic and a little more realistic.
Here are my new and improved wedding vows:
Despite the fact that I feel many of your outfits, should be deemed infits that should never leave the house, I won’t question your fashion sense and will let you express yourself through your colorful clothing tastes.
I will support you seeing the new “Star Wars” in the actual movie theater as many times as you want.
I will accept the fact that you are not and will never be morning person, therefore I take on full A.M. responsibilities including making coffee, taking the dogs out, and serving as your sexy snooze button.
Though I cannot fathom how someone as burly and hairy as you can be cold all the time, I will not make fun of you sitting around shivering under a “granny quilt,” even though it is a balmy fifty degrees outside.
I will laugh—and loud—at your jokes even if I’ve heard them before and they are not funny…just for the record, they are never funny.
My motto will be, “Let him eat steak,” at least once a week.
I will never give up on you learning to play more than “Chinese Cats” (which is not a real song, by the way) on the guitar I bought you over three years ago. And, I’ll be in the front row at every show when you become an octogenarian rock star.
I will love your dog, Rufus, as much as you do.,,even though he is definitely somewhere on the canine spectrum.
I will be nice to your mother…at least, 93% of the time.
I will never forget to record “Gotham” again.
Above all else, I will strive to make you feel as safe and special and beautiful and loved as you make me feel every minute of every day.
Happy Fourth Anniversary, Frank Rose. Here’s to four hundred and forty-four more. Cheers. To Us.
In honor of National Badger Day, meet Chaos, just one of the colorful characters from my new novel, The Queen of Hawthorn Holler.
Jezebel always flaunted a full bush. Her seventh single to go platinum had been titled, “You Make My Honey Badger Growl.” At concerts, the Barbarian Love Slaves often wore stuffed badgers pinned to the crotches of their pants in homage. Fans were always sending needlepoints, sculptures, photos, and other crafts depicting the animal. Chaos, himself, had been an overzealous gift.
“It looks like a bowl of rainbow sherbet. Wanna’ see it?” She started to slide the onesie off.
“No,” Judd screamed. “I’ve seen you naked enough over these past six years.” Just when he thought he was immune to Jezebel’s impropriety, she’d say or do something that would make him want to hide his head in quicksand.
“Wonder if I should dye Chaos to match?”
On cue, the badger lurked out of the bathroom and flashed his fangs. He clawed his way onto the ten-person, dining table that dominated one side of the suite. A mountainous bowl of fruit restocked by the staff each morning sat dead center. It went untouched by Jezebel, but Judd and Chaos put a daily dent in it.
“Hey Buddy.” Judd reached in his direction. “Come, see me.”
Chaos, who’d opted to mangle a mango, met his request by snarling and spitting a mouthful of sticky, orange fruit in Judd’s direction.
“Don’t be a dick, dude. I brought you some beef jerky.” Judd fished a bag of Jack Link’s Original Hickory Smokehouse out of his pocket, opened it, and laid it on the floor at his feet. “Come on, badass, you know you want this more than that prissy fruit.”
Chao jumped down, waddled over, and pissed on Judd’s checkerboard Vans, then snatched the dried beef and burrowed under the couch.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. When it comes to the topic of suicide, most people don't want to think about it, and then there are those who, from time to time, just can't help it. As that person, I know this. We must be open to listening, even if it makes us uncomfortable. We must avoid telling people how selfish it would make them--if they're considering suicide, their self-esteem is low enough. We must take the threat serious, always. Here is a morbid rhyme from a very dark time.
THE DAY I COMMITTED SUICIDE
A luxury bestowed on humankind.
The ultimate way to relax and unwind.
It's just a step through that peaceful portal,
To enjoy the bliss of being mortal.
I always knew I would...
When life became more pain than good,
More work than play...
Still...I wasn't certain on that day,
There was a chance that I would stay,
In this world for a year or two more,
If I could find something worth living for.
So...I watched out the window and waited.
For what…I know not.
Perhaps a Pied Piper, brawny and blonde,
Who'd carry me away to Walden Pond,
Or Avenue A in Alphabet City...
Really, any place pretty or gritty...would do.
As long as I could be,
Anyone but me...
Once I got there.
Come afternoon, I evaluate my life,
Great guest, good friend, decent wife,
Who wrote some books, some poems, some plays,
Filmed a bio-pic about me and my gays
For men or money, there was never a lack,
My drinking kept Maker's Mark in the black.
I threw a flawless party every holiday season...
But was any of this a good enough reason?
To justify that I remain,
On this mundane, mortal plane...
I closed one heavy eye and clearly heard the cry,
"Hokahey, hokahey...today is a good day to die!"
Then, let's do it...
First, I wrote my suicide note...
Making sure it was calm and witty, not beleaguered by neurosis
I went to the keyboard and typed, "Bet you thought it'd be cirrhosis."
Assuming an autopsy, I decide to do my part,
By amusing the coroners with a surreal work of art,
With stomach contents consumed to please:
Gummy worms, pop rocks, and camembert cheese,
A picture of Ben Franklin and a pink Barbie shoe,
And a Scrabble tile with the letter "Q"...
For Quincy, MD, everyone's favorite medical examiner.
Next, to the closet to choose my shroud,
Something sophisticated, not too loud.
It must be classic, not trendy or lewd,
For, I may have to wear it through infinitude.
"Just pick something, Donna, you must OD soon."
I opt for a vintage caftan by Georgie Keyloun.
I bathe, dress, and grab some festive pills.
After Googling and oogling at what best kills,
I've carefully chosen Seconal to set me free,
If it was good enough for Garland, then it's good enough for me.
I swallow thirteen, though ten would suffice
And wash it down with a bourbon on ice.
With book and bottle, I take to the bed,
To drink and read Dr. Seuss 'til I'm dead.
I almost bought Egyptian cotton on which to take my final breath,
But just couldn't bear to waste a thousand thread count on death.
Take a shot and read a rhyme...take a shot and read a rhyme.
I do this time after time after time after time,
Until the drowsies come upon me half way through The Lorax.
Outside, the rain begins to fall,
Ambian from heaven...
And that's the last thing I recall.
There is no happy ending to this verse.
No twist, no turn,
No lesson to learn...
The day I committed suicide
Was quite simply, the day I died.
I must admit, out of all God’s creatures, my least favorite has always been birds. Probably because my Granny Ison had a coop full of the meanest frickin’ chickens in history. My theory is that her hen house was some portal from hell and those fowl were its demon guardians. I swear their eyes glowed red. They led to a reoccurring nightmare about being mauled by giant chickens. Killer poultry also make an appearance in The Miracle of Myrtle: Saint Gone Wild.
My dislike subsided soon after we moved to Bohemian Bay where we have all the cool varieties including blue heron, cormorants, mallards, wood ducks, red-headed woodpeckers, loons, hawks, and hummingbirds. I know their names because, after tiring of me making up monikers like the “Too-Good-to-Talk-to-Me-Even Though-I-Know-It-Can” and “Long-Necked Hateful Duck,” a friend gave me the National Audubon Societies’ Field Guide to Birds.
This summer, I have become obsessed with hummingbirds. I have two feeders that I watch like they are Prince in concert or a Criminal Minds marathon.
Here are some of the facts I’ve learned about the Trochilidae.
Here is a simple recipe:
- Like me after a night of heavy drinking, the hummingbird needs to eat twice its body weight in food every day, and to do so they must visit hundreds of flowers.
- Hummingbirds are the smallest of all birds.
- They get their name from the humming sound their wings make when they flap them, which is normally about 80 times a minute. However, when a male is trying to impress a lady, he can up his game to 200 flaps a minute.
- The hummingbird could totally get to the middle of a Tootsie Pop in no time flat. They have a long tongue which they use to lick their food at a rate of up to 13 licks per second.
- They can fly right, left, up, down, backwards, and even upside down. They are also able to hover by flapping their wings in a figure-8 pattern.
- "Their feet ain't made for walking," sung in the style of Nancy Sinatra. The hummingbird’s feet are used for perching only.
- The popular southern dessert hummingbird cake does not actually contain hummingbirds.
- The hummingbird’s favorite colors are red, orange, yellow, or purple like because these are the colors of the flowers they prefer. So, to lure these fascinating little creatures to your home, first get a feeder in one of the hues.
- Hummingbirds subsist primarily on insects and nectar. Contrary to popular belief, your nectar should not be colored. Dyes are not necessary, and some can be harmful.
1 Cup Sugar
4 Cups Water
Bring to a boil, simmer until sugar melts, stirring constantly.
Cool down to room temperature.
Fill your feeder and hang it in a shady spot. Direct sunlight makes the nectar ferment faster. Then, just wait for the winged magic.
And here is the saddest fact of all…hummingbirds are migratory, so come fall we must say good-bye. When the temperature drops, you should take your feeder down, so the precious little things don’t get confused and stay around too long. Farewell, my little feather friends.
Now, I guess I better get to work on my Sasquatch feeder for the winter.
I was determined to make Frank’s forty-fifth birthday special…and I succeeded…if by special you mean completely sucktastic. It all started out lovely. I awoke him last Friday with a hot cup of coffee, flaming tower of Krispy Kreme donuts, and rousing of rendition of “Happy Birthday.” After breakfast, we loaded up the boat for our big adventure.
Mind you, all the man wanted for his birthday was to get a bucket of chicken, bottle of Patron tequila, take our new pontoon all the way to the end of the lake and back, and then return home for birthday sex.
That last request was where the problems started. Being in perimenopause, my period is as erratic as Donald Trump, but right before we set out on our journey, I started. Strike One.
Anyway, we headed off toward Gwynn Island on what was one of the most beautiful days that the creator ever made. Less than thirty minutes into our voyage, the motor clunked, sputtered, and died. We decided to take a look at it, although neither of us really knowing what we were looking for. So, we took off the engine cover and smoke came billowing out. It doesn’t take a mechanic to know that ain’t right.
Determined to make the most of it, while the motor cooled down, we turned up the stereo and started our own floating disco. Frank broke into his best robot and I busted out some old-school moves. Shortly, we worked up an appetite, so we grabbed the tequila and spread out a picnic of chicken, slaw, and potato salad. In the process, Frank got his hands dirty and needed to wash them before we ate.
Instead of packing the mondo bottle of Grey Goose for the fruity cocktails we'd planned for later in the day, I’d put the vodka in a clear plastic container, which he mistook for water. I looked over just in time to realize he was washing his hands in thirty dollars worth of good booze.
“Well, at least, they’re sterile,” I said, still holding on to hope.
After trying to start the engine to no avail, we realized we had to call Donnie, who is sort of like this lake superhero who comes to the aid of distressed boaters. He left his lunch to come and tow our sorry asses home…AGAIN…fourth time this summer.
Still we were determined to “go to White Castle.” This is what we call it when we summon our inner Harold and Kumar and go against all odds and through any obstacle to accomplish a goal. Our goal was a day on the lake, and by God, we were going to have it.
Luckily, we have a back-up pontoon. The Bohemian Barge was parked at the top of the hill. All we had to do was move three other trailers, change the hitch on the van, load her up, zip-tie her down, and drop her in.
Jason and Tammy were back. Those were the names painted on the rear of the Barge when we bought her. Instead of whitewashing over it, I decided those would become our redneck alter egos who can go around Herrington wreaking havoc with no repercussions to us, since people wouldn't know our real names. .
“Fetch me a beer, Tammy.”
“Kiss my ass, Jason, get your own damn drink. Can’t you see I’m giving myself a tattoo?”
So, we got the Barge in the water only to realize she was out of gas. I had no cash. And, Frank had lost his wallet. After an hour of tearing through his van and the boat, we found it under the seat hidden by a life jacket.
Finally, we arrived back at the dock just as dark was falling only to find that a blue heron had shit all over it. Frank and Donna were done. Jason and Tammy were through, too. Fuck “going to White Castle,” we were going to bed.
UPDATE: Last night, we managed to tow the Krazy Kraken to the Boat Doctor. During our birthday bedlam, we melted the gasket...whatever the hell that means. It's going to take a month to fix it...a whole frickin' month...so...
For the next thirty days, watch out Herrington Lake because Jason and Tammy are going to be raising some hell.
Last weekend was my college theatre reunion at Morehead State University. I promised to tell you beautiful readers all about it. It has taken me 48 hours to process all the crazy that occurred, but here it is in a nutshell.
I had the best cheese fries I have ever eaten. The key to their perfection? Instead of being on the side, the ranch dressing was nestled in the middle of perfectly crispy fries topped with cheese and bacon, so it oozed out with every bite. I would eat these every day forever...
which could be why…
One of my old professors, who is a master at passive-aggressive insults called me fat in the following way. Upon looking me up and down, up and down, she said, “I would never have known this was you. Really, you’re barely recognizable, except for your eyes.” Proving that once a snide, judgmental biddy, always a snide, judgmental biddy.
Over the course of two days, I took five baths and realized how very much I miss having a tub. I see a renovation in our future.
After preparing all week to perform "Prayer of an Aging Party Girl" at the Saturday night showcase, a series of mishaps caused me to miss the whole damn thing. To compensate, I am going to make a YouTube video of the piece. Coming soon to a screen near you.
I got to spend time with some spectacular old friends and made a brand new one who has fabulous fashion sense, a wicked sense of humor, and loves her cats even more than I do.
In daily life, I found I use the word “fuck” far more than the average person.
As a birthday gift, I received a gorgeous new hummingbird feeder (my new obsession)…yes, my birthday was two months ago. Better belated than never.
We had hotel sex, which is for some reason is always better than home sex.
"I am the most responsible house guest you'll ever have" is code for "The minute you leave I'm going to start channeling Keith Richards...1984 Keith Richards." No one is to blame. Somehow the lake just does this to people.
I caused my bestie to laugh so hard he cried…like doubled over, tears flowing, body heaving laugh-crying, which is my favorite thing in the world to watch.
Upon arriving home, I lost an earring out of the pricey turquoise pair that Frank bought me for Valentine’s Day, and then I cried. It fell in the lake. Now, the Herrington Mermaid has added it to her collection of our sunken belongings, which includes three cell phones, two fishing poles, more sunglasses than I can count, and a statue of Buddha.
Bohemian Bay saw its first skinny dipper…and it wasn’t me...or Frank. You get three guesses on who it was.
On this trip, I discovered that Frank is part raccoon. Throughout the weekend, I awoke to find random wrappers and food stuffs (Donut sticks, Grippo’s chips, Arizona sweet tea, Zingers, Funyons) scattered throughout our room. Apparently, when I went to sleep, Frank had gone out foraging. None of these items were available in the hotel vending machines, so he must have been stealing them from people’s rooms or scavenging from the trash.
I also discovered that when it comes to husbands, he is about as good as they come.
All in all, I’ll give the weekend a 7.5. And, the cheese fries and sex an 11.
A poem in Honor of National Mutt Day...
In His Eyes
In his eyes, I am a rock star.
A goddess rock star who can strum the strings of the universe,
With one wink.
For him it is not the sun,
That deems the day begun,
It is when I shine and rise,
That the world awakens in his eyes.
As far as I can tell,
He’d rather walk through hell…
Than through paradise with any other.
In his eyes,
There are only shadows and sighs,
Whenever I’m away.
My absence is a slow, cruel burn,
Only extinguished by my return,
Which is cause for utter elation and celebration.
I never fear he’ll be unfaithful,
It is not in his nature, nor his upbringing.
He was bred to stay with me until the day he dies,
There is only loyalty, in his eyes.
He begs for my affection without shame,
So I stroke his broad chest to tame,
The savage beast.
But one touch is never enough…
He longs for my hands on him always.
Sheer adoration lies,
In his deep, brown eyes.
Above all, one fact stands clear,
Disappointing me is his greatest fear.
He lives to please,
And would die to protect.
He won’t eat, or sleep, or piss without my permission.
For, in his eyes, I am a rock star.
A goddess rock star who can strum the strings of the universe,
With one wink.
Now, if I could just find a man that loves me as much as my dog does,
I’d be in business.
Alright, I must admit that this blog is completely mistitled. I was never really a princess. I have always been snarky, drank too much, been slightly promiscuous, dressed a little eccentric, yelled at strangers, and been prone to random acts of violence. Someone did once call me the “Queen of the Metro.” But then, everybody was a queen at the Metro. It was a gay alternative dance club that used to exist on Main Street. I was there, at least, four nights a week back in the early nineties in black spandex and combat boots. By day, I was doing Shakespeare in the Park or going to grad school. Then, for the next decade, I was the stiletto-wearing, perpetual party girl and fixture in the downtown bar scene. Then, I was a provocateur…a Sister Provocateur, to be exact. Next, though I fought being pigeon-holed, I was essentially skirt! Magazine. Now, who am I? I have no fucking clue and therein lies the problem. Photo Courtesy of Tash Suter.
Who am I? What am I? Why am I?
Why the sudden existential crisis? Because tonight I will be joining Frank at the Kentucky Theatre to see the documentary, “Slips Away,” that celebrates the punk scene in Lexington in the 80’s and 90’s, and then heading on to the After Party at The Green Lantern. Frank was part of this scene. I was on the fringe, but was always intimidated as hell. I wanted to get close enough to touch the tattoos but not get stabbed by the spiked collars. I was fascinated by those who could truly not give a damn about what others thought, society's standards, breaking rules, breaking norms, breaking furniture, getting injured, getting arrested…as long they had a good time and each other. I yearned to be them, but my overwhelming need to please and achieve kept me from embracing anarchy. I regret it.
Besides, punk just doesn’t stick on me. I’ve tried to emulate Siouxsie Sioux and Joan Jett, but I just end up looking like Snow White costumed as a vampire. Exhibit A is the picture at the top of the page. On top of that…I’ve gotten fat. Most of the chicks from his circle in that era have held up well…really well and have sexy, dangerous edges where I have curves. So, I’m feeling completely insecure. I don’t want to be the lame, frumpy wife, but I totally want to support my man and share this awesome experience with him.
So, what am I going to do? I mean, besides just bourbon through it, which is a given. I am going to rely on the fact that even though I may not look like it on the outside, I am radical as hell in my head. My mind has a Mohawk. I create utter havoc on the page and sometimes on the stage. I am an extreme athlete catching big air. I just use a laptop, instead of a BMX bike. I say what others won’t. I take risks. And, I don’t take “no” for an answer. I’m not afraid to stand up to bullies. I give great head. I live on a lake. And I can drink most any mother fucker under the table. I’m feeling better already. I can do this. I am the Bourbonista. I’m just going to accept that Frank is punky and I am funky. I am just going to be myself. And I’m going to show a shit ton of cleavage, cause that transcends all sociocultural groups.
Don't miss SLIPS AWAY.
A documentary covering the Lexington scene from the mid 80's to the mid 90's about Stevie Mahane's life in the Lexington underground scene in which he was integral.
Bands, parties, groups, The Maxwell House, girls, booze, cigarettes, shows, Thrash Can, the Kentucky Theater, tattoos...
Coming June 2015 Thursday the 25th!!!!
The Kentucky Theater
This isn't just about Stevie, but everyone that was there at the time. We're having a big ol' Lexington Reunion and want you to be a part of it. The night of the documentary there will be party, show and fundraiser!