100 more reasons you'll always be a camper
Bitch’in Life, Humor, My Bitches

100 (More) Reasons You’ll Always Be a Camper

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It’s that time of year again — temperatures are rising, school’s out and if you’re like me, you start an inner final-phase countdown toward the two months you live ten for: summer vacation.

Thing is, it ain’t necessarily what it used to be. As a grown-up, summer “break” starts with a mad scramble of labeling underwear, a seemingly endless stream of P (planning, prepping and packing) and the inevitable draining of all your assets (time, energy, finances) and ends with someone else heading out for the time of her/his life while you sit at home, hitting the goddamn refresh button on the camp website to see if you can catch a glimpse of your kid looking as happy as you always were when you were her/his age.

All I can say is STOP THAT. Stop it right now because you and I both know that once a camper, always a camper. You don’t need to live vicariously through your child because camp is in your blood and makes you a better person every single day.

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bitchin fathers day gift
My Bitches, Parenting

10 Unique & Personal Gifts You Can Give a Dad for Father’s Day

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My dad has a standard answer whenever we ask what he wants for a special occasion like Father’s Day.

It always starts with “nuthin’, I have everything I need,” and ends with (after additional prodding) “OK, socks and underwear.”

As a child I couldn’t think of anything more boring. As an adult and a parent myself now, I can appreciate the idea that banging on all cylinders at all times means there’s no time to shop or fret about holes in inopportune places. Toss in the horror that is laundry, and it’s easy to see why being presented with, say, a month’s worth of fresh, unscathed skivvies is an unmitigated luxury.

Nowadays, there are a million “unique” gift ideas out there for dads, most of which seem related to the three Gs of fatherhood: golf, grilling and guzzling. If the dad in your life is a carnivorous alcoholic putter, then finding the perfect gift for him is a breeze. If, however, you are looking to break free from the stereotypical presents and also reject giving the predictable (and still pretty boring) gifts of socks and underwear, here are 10 original and personal ideas that don’t, in most cases, even require wrapping:

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women over and under 30 listicle
Bitch’in Life, Humor

24 Things Women Over and Under 30 Should Do

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This week in Facebook land many of my bitches were passing around an old listicle by Kallie Provencher of Rantchic titled, “24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30” like a used condom — with great disdain and no small amount of disgust.

I actually love me a good listicle — I mean, who DOESN’T click on “19 All Too Real Reasons Moms are Late,” (#1 – Because time flies when you’re raising humans [my #1, not theirs]), “27 Things You Need to Know About Fetty Wap,” “25 Famous Women on Crying,” or “12 Hitlers That Look Like Cats?”

But when listicles by women for women throw shade on, well, other women, there are way too many reasons to recite for why that’s not OK.

And Kallie’s insipid list of things that presumably you and I should stop wearing (i.e. “graphic tees – better left for those lazy days off and not public outings,” “Victoria’s Secret’s PINK – wear your big girl panties please,” “oversized glasses – they might be fun but they’re not mature”) would madden even a young Millennial.

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8 small ways to make big changes
Bitch’in Life

8 Small Ways to Make Big Changes Today

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Recently I got a record player and so I’m re-buying my favorite albums of all time… and among the first batch I snagged is Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman.

Perhaps you are as much of a camp-dork as I am, and you can’t help but sing along to “Father and Son” at the top of your lungs while simultaneously brushing back the inevitable torrent of tears:

“It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Why, think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not…”

While I agree with Ol’ Cat on the idea that things are MUCH easier to shift when you make a conscious decision to pivot vs. rushing through things fueled by panic and fear, I actually disagree that it’s not time to make a change.

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best advice a psychic ever gave me
Bitch’in Life

The Best Advice a Psychic Ever Gave Me…

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For starters, the psychic was drunk.

Maybe not out and out hammered, but at least half in the bag by the time it was my turn to flip the Tarot and find out what the cards, the stars and the woman that someone on Yelp said was the “premiere psychic’s psychic in New Orleans” saw for me.

By the time my reading was over two and a half hours later, we’d killed a bottle of Chianti between the two of us, I’d inhaled enough second-hand smoke from her Natural American Spirits (pun intended, I’m sure!) that I could probably blow a decent set of rings just from the haze in my lungs, and I’d starting saying things like “y’all,” “da babies” and other affectations of my other-worldly host in a mimic of her Nawlins-by-way-of-the-Bronx drawl.

If you’re wondering what brought me to her in the first place, let me step back a moment and let you know that I am that person.

So while I hail from Boston where witches were once routinely hung and curses are busted not with the help of metaphysics but rather money ball (READ: the Sox 2004 World Series win over St. Louis), I have moved past that naysayer upbringing and wade willingly into the Woo-Woo.

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the funny thing about vaginas
Humor, Parenting

The Funny Thing About Vaginas

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I’m calling it here and now: 2016 is the Year of the Vagina.

We are in a post-modern vag-world now, y’all. Our nether region, once taboo in mainstream media, has become a pretty much daily staple, thanks to celebs like Kim Kardashian, whose Constagrammed cooze and serial spreading for mags is surely an inspiration to us all and Gwyneth Paltrow, who’s opened our eyes to the Mugworth V-Steam (“an energetic release — not just a steam douche…”) as a the “it” girl of spa treatments and homemade lube alike.

Although these bold illustrations surely indicate that penis envy is out, cooter coveting is in, the vaginal tipping point for me is the idea that periods are FINALLY FUNNY.

In one night I caught up on the Season 3 finale of Broad City and a recent episode (#4) of Inside Amy Schumer, and found a wealth of menstrual material.

First off, Broad City’s finale about BBFs Abbi and Ilana heading to Israel on a “Birthmark” (riff on Birthright) trip had a hashtag that said it all — #therewillbebLOOd. (Periods aside, there was a freakin’ hysterical joke about the “mohel chai” club, too.)  The two-part finale was essentially a running gag about menstruation that started with Ilana going through security wearing a Shark Tank-worthy innovation: period-stained pants that kept drug-sniffing dogs from finding the weed she was smuggling in her vagina, and ended with her fashioning a homemade tampon for Abbi from a pita and various other, uhm, inventive materials that was mistaken for a bomb.

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oldchella to the cut hell no we wont go
Humor

From Oldchella to “The Cut” – Hell No, We Won’t Go… Or Will We?

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The last couple of weeks have been a blur as I’ve been down the rabbit hole with a sick child.

If you’re a parent, or even have a pet you adore, you know how that illness sitch goes: routines be damned, time stands still and you shore up in your nest, focusing all your healing energy on your baby.

When you emerge, it’s like leaving a movie theater after watching a traumatizing film, say about evil clowns or demonic puppets — you blink your eyes, attempting to focus as bright light shocks your system.

Try as you may, it’s nearly impossible to shake off that unnerving feeling that nothing is the same and nobody is safe.

And then I turned on the radio for the first time in a couple of weeks, and the first word I heard confirmed my worse fears… it was… OLDCHELLA.

Talk about shuffling off this mortal coil — in bedroom slippers and a drool-stained robe to the strains of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

If you don’t know what “Oldchella” is (because your kid is sicker than mine or you’re technically dead), it’s a megaconcert to be put on by Coachella producer Goldenvoice over two weekends, October 7-9, 2016 and October 14-16, 2016 featuring classic rock giants (dinosaurs?) The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who. The average age of the rockers is 71.7; at a price tag of around a grand, you better hope you get some sort of AARP discount or maybe they take Medicare?

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when moms take baby steps
Parenting

When Moms Take Baby Steps

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Last weekend I went to my first baby shower in many moons…. ever since I said “goodnight moon” to breeding some 15 years ago.

The mom-to-be is in her ninth month; as I watched her drape tiny onesies, precious caps, baby gangstah hoodies, miniature t-shirts and wee shorts over her built-in clothes rack belly, I couldn’t help but let out a few involuntary gasps.

Not because the of wardrobe — although who knew that giraffes were the gender-neutral IT creature of the infant set nowadays? — but because of all the amazing things my mommy-to-be friend has to look forward to:

  • That feeling you get when you hold that previous tiny bundle in your hands for the first time and are hit by a zillion pound realization that NOTHING will ever be the same.
  • The first feeding, when “doing what comes natural” and breastfeeding is actually not all that natural, it turns out. Nor is almost anything maternal that you thought you knew. Much like Jon Snow, your little Wildling is proof positive that you know nothing.
  • Being annoyed in the hospital by the nurses waking you once or twice during the night to feed your newborn… only to realize once you get home that was the last good night’s sleep you had… ever again. Or at least it’ll feel that way.
  • Getting into a routine with the baby, which not only takes time but is also at the expense of all other routines — work, “alone time” with your partner, hanging out with your friends, your personal hygiene regime, your workouts, getting back into your non-maternity wear and well, everything.
  • Projectile poop. It’s a rite of passage, y’all.
  • The feeling that the only book you’ll finish reading ever again is the aforementioned Good Night, Moon. Even Dr. Seuss feels like heavy lifting in the early days. And forget that stack of magazines, newspapers and your own books, too. Your “mommy brain” is a combo platter of sleep deprivation, abject terror from looking up everything in the What to Expect… books and hormones. For all those aspiring dictators out there, if you could bottle the essence of mommy brain, you would NEVER be challenged because nobody would ever be able to read, think or effectively function other than burping, changing diapers, rocking and pacing around in circles with the ultimate goal of getting to nap time.

The list could easily go on, but the point is this: the initiation into motherhood has NOTHING to do with taking baby steps. It is all about a magnificent yet terrifying leap from the Mountain of Self into a deep, endless Sea of We. (Sea of Wee?)

For the first few years, things are a total blur. For example, one time in a total sleep deprived haze at a kiddie concert in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, I can remember begging my mother-in-law to promise me that things would get easier.

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bitchin_suburbia_how_not_to_be_invisible
Bitch’in Life

How Not to Be Invisible

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Ever feel like a ghost before your time?

You come home from grocery shopping with three bags on either arm, fumble for your keys, loudly shove them in the lock, stagger through the front door to the kitchen… only to realize that every member of your family is sitting in the family room, in technology-induced trances, and not a single soul even glances your way as you slam the bags on the counter.

Or maybe it’s a girls night out — you head to the local watering hole, saddle up to the bar… and watch, for 20 minutes or more, as the bartender serves everyone else (from cute 20-something girls to bros and even men of a certain age that look like good tippers) BUT you.

Perhaps you catch the eye of someone you know from PTA or somewhere else where being visible gives your kid a boost (so you hope/pray/guess) — and then that person plays the “You see me, but I don’t see you game” and looks right through you.

While you might feel invisible, the reason these things happen is easy to see:

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prince tribute
My Bitches, Pop Culture

So This is What It Sounds Like When Doves Cry: Remembering Prince

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Oh my bitches, we’ve gotta broken heart again — don’t we?

First Bowie, now Prince. I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that it’s been a devastating few months for humankind.

These artists changed the landscape, the style, the conversation, the sentiment and the funk.

Permanently, and hallefuckingluyah for that.

I could spout a ton of information about Prince Rogers Nelson, aka Prince, aka The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, but of course we can get detailed bios and intimate details of the storied life of the legendary performer elsewhere.

Here on Bitch’in Suburbia, as we gather together to get through this thing called life, I’m going to share a few memories of and thoughts about Prince in hopes that you’ll do the same in the comments.

Those of us GenXers that were in high school or college got turnt on by Price through Purple Rain — the movie and the soundtrack.

For me, the film came out the summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. Of life’s many transitions, that one was a real doozy. Knowing I wasn’t a child anymore, but not necessarily ready to stand on my own two feet, I could TOTALLY relate to Prince’s character, “The Kid,” who was also a crazy jumble of angst and drama as he attempted to break free of his familial bonds, while also trying to be a star and score a hot bae to boot.

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