use your illusion
Pop Culture

How to Use Your Illusion

This past week was a banner one in terms of pulling back the curtain of popular culture, and being able to truly see the driving forces behind a couple of gods — one Olympian (Bruce Jenner) and one rock (Kurt Cobain).

Well, at least get a closer look at how mere mortals can use their illusions to not just mask, but also fuel, pretty grand ambitions.

Bruce Jenner’s magic trick was convincing the whole world he was the epitome of manhood when he won Olympic gold for his Decathlon performance in 1976. For a while, he was even able to convince himself that the urge to express himself as a female that started from a very young age could be tamped down and ignored.

While his athletic career clearly wasn’t solely formed by a painful secret, it was, according to Bruce, the driving force that pushed him harder than anyone else and propelled him to become a world champion.

That he pretty much concealed such a gigantic revelation through 425 episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians — “The one true story in the family was the one I was hiding and nobody knew about it,” he told Diane Sawyer — was a feat perhaps even more spectacular than his earlier athletic achievements.

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Breakfast club
Bitch’in Life, Parenting, Pop Culture

Are We Still in The Breakfast Club?

Remember The Breakfast Club?

Thirty years later, and the question remains: which high school trope were you — the princess? The athlete? The brain? The basket case? Or the criminal?

Better question: which high school trope are you still?

Sometimes when I am writing my blog, I troll Facebook looking for inspiration. What I love about social media is it shows me that no matter how disparate the groups of friends I am looking at — peeps from childhood, high school, camp, college, post-college, early mommy group, parenting buds, or “other” — we have so much in common.

And not just the urge to take and share pictures of frosty cocktails, our feet at the beach, our kids/pets/significant other (not in that order — pets usually come first =), cooking/baking gone good/bad, and/or inspirational/funny quotes.

The human experience has a lot of overlap, especially the emotional components. The exteriors may look different, but the interior impulses are all the same. We’re just looking for connection to soothe the rough spots and know that we’re not alone in our suffering. (#Buddha, #tbt)

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Bitch’in Life, Parenting

Date Night Disaster

It’s official: I’ve lost all confidence in date nights.

Before I give you the latest blow to the ever-popular, eagerly anticipated weekly(ish) ritual, let’s backtrack a minute and explore the evolution of the date night.

BC (forget before kids, I’m going all the way back to before commitment), there was no such thing as date night. There were nights, and some of those evenings had dates, and as I recall, those things ran the gamut from awkward and painful to hot and amazing.

The one thing that dates have going over date night is the element of surprise. Moments of mystery. And the best of them have an unanticipated happy ending (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more).

Once you’re in a long-term relationship, date nights take on new meaning. Sure they’re a little forced, and of course the fact that you already know your date intimately saps some of the electric energy, but without the ritual, the chances of an awesome, albeit anticipated, happy ending decrease accordingly (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, etc.).

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new beginning
Bitch’in Life

New Beginnings: The Good, The Bad & The Cute as Hell

It’s that time of year again; as winter recedes, spring bursts forth full of new possibilities.

I embrace change, even though every new beginning is some other beginning’s end (at least according to my old pal Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger and also the more contemporary, albeit one-hit wonder band, Semisonic).

That said, change is never easy. Take for example this here Bitch’in blog and its spanky fresh look. It’s been two months in the making, with a fair amount of agonizing over the new direction. Most significantly, I make the tough decision to shed the kitschy/campy collage vibe of the original design that included elements like a basket of laundry, a wood-paneled station wagon, “mom” tattoo, and even an apple pie…. with my stalwart Bitch’in Suburbia mascot standing guard over it all.

When I paired it all down, the thing that it comes down to is the writing. My mitts (in dishwashing gloves or not, although who doesn’t multi-task?) On a keyboard.

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Parenting, Pop Culture

Stunt Penises & Other Things I Wish I Hadn’t Shown My Kids

Ever feel like you needed a parenting do-over?

I took my kids (14 and 15-years-old) to see the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart movie, Get Hard, and even though it had an R rating, I figured, how bad could it be?

Answer: When you have to ask, how bad could it be?, employ the Sandler Rule of Abysmal One-Step-Beyond-Humor, and make an educated guess that you’re better off playing Cards Against Humanity with the kiddies instead.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet (and I wouldn’t recommend it), heres’ the premise: a wealthy Wall Street prick, James King (Will Ferrell), is convicted for fraud and sentenced to ten years in San Quentin; to help prepare himself for his time inside, he enlists the only black man he apparently knows — his car wash guy, Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) — whom James pompously states that “statistically speaking” he’s clearly been to prison and therefore can get him ready for his stint in the can. Trouble is, Darnell is no con, although he happily cons James to get $30,000 out of him to use as a down payment on a new house.

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Bitch’in Life

Three Surefire Steps to Get Unstuck

Isn’t feeling stuck the worst?

I’ve been in a little rut of late — while I can picture myself flying, making gigantic leaps forward, in reality I can’t shake the feeling that I’m wading through glue.

This kind of things happens, when “diversions” like the daily grind, shifting schedules (youth sports, anyone?), and a whole host of external influences demand your presence, NOW, on the gerbil wheel of duty, responsibility, and obligation. As the days wear on and that thing keeps on churning, you can easily get stuck in the deep groove it makes; stranded on the edge of a depressing abyss where on the other side — and seemingly out of reach — are your creative commitment, personal goals, and artistic vision.

The good thing is about being stuck is that it’s not blocked; stuck is temporary, and even if part of you feels like it can’t go one more step, the other part of you can shimmy, pivot, and wriggle your way into freedom.

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Bitch’in Life

How to Celebrate Every Day Without Really Trying

In the last couple of weeks, I have been a celebration jet setter. I’ve been to a bat mitzvah, a milestone birthday party, and a wedding vow renewal.

In between those big ass celebrations, there have been several smaller local ones. Even my Facebook timeline has been exploding every single day with invitations to wish somebody a happy birthday.

The curmudgeon in me had a minute before this festive month of March started in earnest. There’s been a lot of present shopping, with loads more to come. There were plane tickets to purchase, hotel rooms to book, dog sitters to hire, schedules to be shuffled, work days to be taken off, clothes to be dry cleaned, panty hose (!!) to be purchased, and all of that required time, money, and super human planning.

Getting prepared for the onslaught of festivities was busy, to say the least, and so to keep my focus, I wouldn’t miss it for the world became my mantra.

And so, I haven’t. And a few funny things happened on the way to each party…

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5 Bitch’in 15 Minute Meals for Busy People

This morning I woke up faced with a giant quandary: I didn’t have a kick ass idea for this week’s post, and also I needed to get started making dinner… lunch… and breakfast.

And then it hit me: what kind of a maniac makes dinner at the same time as breakfast and lunch? The answer is me… you… and all of us. After all, there are only so many precooked chickens one can eat before sprouting feathers, and ordering in adds up.

In the great buffet of life, capturing and cooking food is a heaping portion of angst served up daily on our collective and overflowing mental plates. Today we want things healthy but quick, easy but complex — and it all feels so oxymoronic… emphasis on moronic. And it explains why we’re all prone to have massive existential crises while in line at Trader Joe’s.

So what’s a bitch’in Betty Crocker to do?

First off, you fill your kitchen with cheap yet time-cutting tools:

– A mini- prep food processor (you can find ‘em in cute colors for $40 or less)

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Since When Do Parents Need to Know Everything?

I’ll never forget the moment when my husband and I decided that it was time to leave our sweet little urban life in Park Slope, Brooklyn behind for what we assumed would be the relative ease of the suburbs.

My son was about six months old, and through chit-chat with my mommy group friends, I realized that if my kid was going to amount to anything in this lifetime, I’d better get him on the right list for the right preschool, which in turn would lead him to the right elementary school, the right middle school, the right high school, and you guessed it — the right college.

This was no easy task. I’d already missed the pre-birth window to get my son on a list for preschool, and so my options were already limited. A few months later, I finally got him in to a nursery school — but it definitely wasn’t the one all the cool cats were at.

That preschool wake-up call was a swift kick in the parenting nuts. We had had been too naive to check the school district before we bought our apartment, so our elementary school was the one that had a chain link fence around it and metal detectors inside of it. Private school was another route my mommy friends were discussing, but paying for Kindergarten at a rate I thought was reserved for college made no sense to me. (As if this were even an option! Had we really wanted in, the kid would’ve had to have done his pre-admission interview in utero.)

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BIS Sez, Bitch’in Life

Surviving the Hormonal Jungle

There is a savage beast raging through our home that’s at times as stealthy as a panther, other times as loud as a howling monkey, and always the elephant in the room.

While I’ve heard a zillion firsthand tales of how I have to brace myself for the onslaught of the teen years when the cords begin to be cut, the heartstrings torn and even broken, and the torrents of adolescent psychosis induced by the confluence of brain and body development become every day occurrences, I didn’t realize that my own physiology would be behind the worst of it.

“Your hormones are a jungle,” my homeopathic doc cautioned me recently. “A mess! So many estrogens!”

At the moment, I think her analogy is a wee bit off. “Jungle” sounds almost too tame. Lately I feel more like the rainforest — what was once lush, moist, and abundantly fertile is now being cleared for new construction. The mother-person that hormones built is going through a metamorphosis, and honey, it ain’t always pretty.

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