December 31, 2013

Reflections ... 2013

Whatta year it's been, phew! It's been filled with highs and lows and that's what is so great about life... ya never know.


Whenever I hear anyone utter the phrase "next year has got to be better than this year" or "this year really was terrible, can't wait for next year" I'd like to say - "shut up and thank God you're alive"! You can't have good without some bad just like Liza sang in "But The World Goes 'Round". How can anyone expect that everything always has to be wonderful? I mean I do, but I ain't no Pollyanna or Mary Sunshine, believe me! I'm a complainer and the first one to say the year was less than perfect, but that would also dismiss all the good things that happened.



2013 started off with Mama dying - that was the worst and most difficult part of the entire year. I've had other shitty things happen to me this year too, but why dwell on that? "That's Life" just like Sinatra sang because many good things happened too. I received an award for my work in Alzheimer's and LGBT Awareness in the community. A play I cowrote was accepted and performed at The Fringe Festival with great emotional response. I was able to bounce back and forth from NYC 2 Suburbia helping to keep my sanity. I was also lucky enough to be in the West Village during the historic DOMA ruling and experience the overwhelming sense of pride when Edith Windsor gave her speech to the crowd. I had many good things happen to me, but I don't wanna toot my own horn too much... okay, maybe just a little. I saw a lot of great theatre and have continued to focus on my writing and photography. I've been diving deeper into social media and "All That Jazz". (Okay hadda throw in another show song title). Oh and lest I forget, I managed to survive the Holidaze!




So here's to Mama (who never complained about her bad years and she had many) and "Here's to Life".  After all, the future is full of hope... and I'm looking forward to 2014. Another opportunity to live a colorful, eventful and fulfilling year. I'm gonna keep my reflections of 2013 positive. And as far as the New Years resolutions game goes... gimme a break, will ya?


Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia

Visit Our Shop ~ Click Link Below:
Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? 
If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! 
Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products. 

December 19, 2013

A Christmas Dream or Nightmare? Ho, Ho, Ho

Ho, Ho, Ho... the mere phrase gets me anxious. What if all your past, present and future Christmases were all rolled into one? Imagine the classic "A Christmas Carol" with a different twist! They'd all mesh together changing gears at any moment. You wouldn't know what, where or who you were suppose to be. You're in a dreamlike state with heightened overtones that could turn into a nightmare. Did Christmas already happen, is it happening now, will it be happening soon? Will it start over again and again like in "Groundhog Day"? Only with very slow movements and distorted sounds - almost like being under water. But I don't swim. Oh no it's starting - tick, tock, tick tock. The dream begins...


My heart races just thinking about Christmas. Anxiety, worry, anticipation, check lists, family, obligations, shopping, gifts, overeating, commercials, stressful, frenetic, frustrating, nonstop, black friday, cyber monday, returns, bills, happy, sad. Stop the insanity please!


I keep layering my anxiety by adding people I don't want to be with or can't relate to. Annoying strangers enter the party as the crowd thickens and I start to loose my composure and my breath. I have trouble breathing now and become off balanced and dizzy. 


The food has been demolished, there are no working bathrooms, the coats are nowhere to be found and there's another party where I am the guest of honor, but I'm late and look like hell. What do I do? Where do I go? I'm lost. Can anyone hear me? Are words coming out of my mouth? Can anyone help me? I try to focus on my breathing, my breathing, my breathing. All of a sudden the entire room begins to copy me and they are breathing wildly taking up all the oxygen. Why is this all happening to me on this special night? I just want this nightmare to end and start a fresh new day. But then the roof collapses and some of the guests get hit by the gigantic snowflake decorations, while others start to faint from hyperventilating. This is not a time to celebrate but they're all laughing! Where are the happy colors? Is this my vision of lollipops dancing in my head? We're all trapped and can't escape, but there has to be some hope, right? A downpour begins and there's a large hole in the main room where the water is quickly rising and becoming scary. Everyone appears catatonic or bored except for me as the christmas music gets louder and louder repeating endlessly.

I scream out for help and wake up terrified in my soaking wet pajamas. Where am I? Thank God it was only a nightmare and thank God it's December 26th. Enough with the Ho, Ho, Ho... at least for this year!


Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia

Visit Our Shop ~ Click Link Below:
Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? 
If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! 
Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products. 

November 28, 2013

"Memories" - Back 2 Brooklyn

Barbra Toasts the Crowd at Barclays 
"Happy Days Are Here Again"... Barbra is back in the news. So to celebrate the DVD/CD release of Barbra Streisand's "Back to Brooklyn" Concert and the PBS Special, I've decided to share one of my most popular posts again. Of course there are a few changes made to the original post. Since my initial story,  I finally got to see Barbra in concert for the first time at "Back to Brooklyn". The story I wrote about meeting Barbra was also published and included in "Barbra Memories" coinciding with her concert. I attended the book signing in NYC and the book was even presented to Barbra by the author Ally Waldman.  



So what do you do when you finally get a chance to meet a celebrity you've admired your entire life? I am not a fanatic, but Barbra's career has been meaningful to me ever since I can recall. My daily vocabulary usually includes lines from her movies or songs. "Don't tell me not to live just sit and putter..."

My connection to Barbra was only through her work, that has been the extent of it. I was never fortunate enough to see (or able to afford) one of her rare live concerts. We both have a similar rhythm that comes from being native New Yorkers. I learned to question things and see things differently because she made me aware of this at a very young age. I am eternally grateful to her for that. "Papa, can you hear me? Try to understand me..."

I entered a contest through Sony Records that coincided with the release of her recording "What Matters Most" and during the filming of "The Guilt Trip" (originally titled "My Mother's Curse"). There was one winner and it was ME... OMG! I was chosen to meet Barbra Streisand in Las Vegas on the set of her movie. "It's gonna be a great day..."

That's ME on Barbra's Official Website
Sooooo, what the hell do you say to an icon when you finally get to meet her? I had a list of things I wanted to say, but I was just overwhelmed with emotion and not able to do my "checklist". The first glimpse I caught of her is when she appeared on the set. I was about 20 feet away from her and I could not believe I was watching Barbra shoot a scene and I was actually gonna meet her in a few minutes! My armpits were wet, my mouth was dry, my lips were tense and I was doing my deep breathing to help calm me for what seemed like an eternity. "There are moments you remember all your life. There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life. This is one of those moments..."

During a break in the filming, she looked my way and rushed towards me, almost tripping over the velvet rope. She pointed at me and said "Ohhhhh you're the winner!" and then extended her hand towards me. Holy shit! She came towards ME and spoke to ME. (And yes her hands were incredibly soft "like buttah"). I was almost at a loss for words, which is rare for those that know me. I introduced myself and she was "sweet as pie" not "tough as leather". We talked about her upcoming album and I told her I loved one of the preview cuts I heard. She asked which one, so I sang a few lines. OMG, I sang to Barbra Streisand - what chutzpah! I wished her Mazel Tov on the success of her new CD. When I told her that she was my first wedding gift, she looked at me like I was crazy. "Whaddya tawkin' about, kid"?
"Ohhhhh you're the winner"
I explained that my partner and I would finally be "allowed" to get married and were returning to NYC to do it! She wished us lots of luck and said "it's about time, I'm so happy for you." She immediately asked her photographer to take some photos and he suggested to shoot on the set, since the lighting was better. I agreed! We walked over to the set together, which was in the lobby at Caesar's Palace in Vegas. I said "Wait a minute, I wanna get my good side". She looked at me and said "Which is your good side"? I said "you tell me, you're the director". She laughed. OMG! I made Barbra Streisand laugh AND congratulate me all within a few minutes. She was so warm, engaging and genuine. After the photo shoot, she told me to ..."stick around for as long as I want to...". Wow! She liked me, she really liked me! But I kept thinking -  "Nicky Arnstein, Nicky Arnstein... I'll never see her again." NOT true, I was on and off the set for the rest of the night and she even asked if I wanted to be in a scene at the slot machines - OMG, yes! Somewhere in between all that, I gathered up the courage to ask if I could get some vintage magazines autographed that I brought with me. She not only signed them, she signed them in the specific color markers I brought! WTF? "Extra, extra I'm in love. I'm gonna thank my lucky stars above..."

Book Signing of "Barbra Memories"
At the end of the night, which slowly turned into morning, I was exhausted. I was leaving the set when Barbra's publicist asked if I was leaving already? I said it's really late and it was one helluva night for me, BUT if Barbra wants a glass of champagne when she wraps, I'll be waiting for her. The anticipation, the preparation, the traveling, the uncertainty, the meeting, the conversation, the photos, the laughter all the "memories" truly made it a once in a lifetime experience and I was one lucky guy. I mean "How lucky can you get?" And as Barbra said in "Yentl"... "Nothing is impossible". Of course she was right... once again!

Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia

Visit Our Shop ~ Click Link Below:



Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? 
If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! 
Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products. 

October 13, 2013

Check - OUT Lines in Suburbia : Green Acres Gone Gay Continues

Safeway is always cold, I usually wear a hoodie when food shopping there - even in the summertime. I'm use to it and not complaining for a change. Better that it's cold and keeping the produce fresh, right? Anyway, while on the check-out line I start making small talk with the checker telling him that my hands were freezing and so he said "give me your hands". I'm thinking WTF, but extend my hands anyway. He cups my hands and starts massaging them to warm them up... and for quite a long time! Is this typical behavior? I'm a little surprised considering there's a long line behind me and I could feel the people curse me for getting a hand job from the checker - I mean hand massage. He then took his time scanning all of my coupons. And yes I use coupons... I always have. I am NOT a closet coupon cutter, but what's with the closet checker? Or did I just help him OUT on the check-OUT line, get it?

Fast forward, a few weeks later to another checker, this time at the drugstore. He looks at my face and then comments on the facial products I'm buying. He said "if those products can make me look as handsome as you, I'm going to buy them too"! OMG, I didn't even do my famous triple check in the mirror before leaving the house. I thought I looked like shit! What is it with me and the check-OUT lines? 

"Oops... I did it again". Last week, I made a comment at another store when I couldn't pull my wallet out of my pants quick enough to pay the bill. I told the checker that "my thing was a little too big". I quickly explained I was referring to my wallet and he said "I bet that's what you say to all the guys" (wink, wink). Really? So this checker assumes that I'm Gay AND a have a big package!!! Well I guess we both had stories to tell over the dinner table that night.

Perhaps my concept of Green Acres Gone Gay, aka GAGG (not to be confused with GAGA) confirms that I'm not the only one in Suburbia. I must be a trend setter, but "Baby I Was Born This Way". All I can do is laugh about these situations and think that maybe being Gay and OUT in Suburbia has become the norm or at least on my check-OUT lines.

Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia



Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? 
If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! 
Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products. 

September 16, 2013

The Good, the Bad & the Pretty

Everything's gotta match or coordinate. Is it the control freak in me, my OCD or simply good taste with extremely Gay neurotic overtones? Not sure but either way - that's me.

Bad taste is bad taste... it doesn't matter where - NYC or Suburbia. Things gotta match, or at least fit well. After all we are "Green Acres" Gone Gay! A Hawaiian shirt can look great and always appropriate at a luau or at Trader Joe's. Oversized long shiny poly shorts belong on a basketball court... end of story. Flimsy flip flops are for the beach or hotel bathrooms... definitely never on an airplane! Whatta ya thinking? 

If I were the president I'd make a law that every citizen has gotta have a full length mirror by their front door. This way before they leave their house, they could see the good, the bad or the pretty and perhaps rethink their look!


It may not be everyone's thing, but my clothes gotta match. Am I the only one that coordinates sox jeans and underwear (TMI, I know but true!) I've been known to be late because I give myself that double check in the mirror at least three times. Maybe I have CCC (Consistent Coordinating Compulsion). But the visual doesn't stop there... not for me!

I feel anyone who enjoys eating has gotta enjoy the total dining experience. This includes lighting (think dimmers and candles). You can have the most beautiful, tasty dinner but serve it with bright overhead lighting and the food will look bad - not to mention the faces around the table! If you're smart enough to install dimmers... use them, damnit! And if you're one of the few lucky city dwellers (or the majority of suburban dwellers) with an outside space... eat out there! It can be beautiful, magical and romantic. When you have guests, they'll love it and always remember it. Backyards ain't just for grilling hot dogs, burgers and steaks in the afternoon on weekends.


Somethings never change, but no matter where I live and what I eat (even when it's takeout) my table looks damn good. As long as I can remember I gotta coordinate everything on the table. And music (not TV) has always been an essential part of the picture, there are five senses after all. You could be eating a hotdog, but why not not eat it in a beautiful relaxing atmosphere? 

I'm not saying that my way is the only way (cuz it is) or that I'm better (cuz I'm not). My point is I know I may be a bit compulsive but I still gotta laugh at myself sometimes... remember I may have CCC. There's always a good, a bad or a pretty... so why not stick to the pretty as we give a final look in the mirror before walking out the front door.


Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia



Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? 
If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! 
Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products. 

August 24, 2013

Camping Out or Flying Coach? Roughing It

Talk about two different worlds... remember I'm from NYC and Douglass is from Suburbia, think of the old sitcom "Green Acres" gone Gay. Our Green GAYcres story continues...


The Past:
Growing up in the city I never went camping. My mother would threaten me when I was bad that I'd be sent to camp! Well needless to say I was a perfect child, coz I was not about to venture out into the throngs of the wild. My summers were filled with days of playing in the streets, sitting on the stoop and singing along to my records. (Yes, records... pre CD's)

Dougie Climbing a Tree
Enter Douglass... a complete contrast.

Growing up in suburbia, Douglass was always climbing trees, cardboard sliding down the hills and playing outdoors... in nature. OMG, he even went camping as a kid AND liked it! Once he was chased by a deer and had to hide up in a tree until the deer left and he still laughs about it. Really? I would've moved right then and there!

The Present:
When anyone asks me if I wanna go camping, I look at them as if they're crazy. Then I wonder if I misbehaved and was gonna be sent to camp as a punishment. Holy sh*t, whatta flashback! My answer is consistent... "Me go camping? Flying coach is as close to camping as I can get."

Camping Out Waiting for a Flight in Coach

Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia




Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? 
If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! 
Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products. 

July 30, 2013

You Are Too Funny

"You are too funny". Is this comment a compliment, a put down or merely something someone says when they feel a "need" to respond or don't know "how" to respond?

I find it ridiculous. I crack myself up whenever I hear someone use that phrase. I'd like to think of myself as funny... probably not "2 funny", but funny enough to maintain a certain level of intelligence. And just a wee bit of un PC humor, bad taste about farts & other bodily functions thrown in to make me a well rounded individual. Not 2 well rounded, coz that would just make me 2 fat. OMG, I'm 2 funny... or did I go 2 far?

Douglass & I have both been called:

2 funny,
2 much,
2 of a kind,
2 old,
2 young,
2 fat,
2 thin,
2 gay,
2 fabulous,
2 colorful,
2 neurotic...

The list goes on & on but it's just 2 much for the 2 of us 2 handle.

I love to laugh & it continues to get me through a lot of "stuff". I'm very thankful for laughter & for my sick sense humor - you will never hear me say to anyone "You are 2 funny". So lemme have it & bring it on. Make my face hurt, my stomach ache & watch me double over in half as I wet my pants from laughing 2 much!


Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia




Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? 
If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! 
Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products. 

July 15, 2013

Happiness ... look no further than your own backyard

Old, but new... I love New York City, this is not news to many of you. But what I discovered about myself this time ( just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz ) is that happiness can be found in your own back yard, or in my case within myself.

On my most recent trip to NYC, I put "my expectations" on people & as a result was feeling sad & let down by them. It's the same expectations that I put on many in Suburbia. I guess the problem lies within me... NOT where I am. I get disappointed all the time & nothing's ever good enough. Maybe it's all about control - think Barbra Streisand writing, directing & acting! It gets frustrating & overwhelming.

Sometimes ya just gotta stand back & look at the big picture & figure out what's most important. I always thought friends & family were the most important thing for me but I hardly ever got back the same effort I put out. I constantly set myself up for disappointment. Now my priorities have changed & I'm realizing that "I Am My Own Best Friend".

Suburbia can be too quiet, with too many bugs, too many animals, too few friends, too many restaurants that close too early & of course too much driving. But NYC can be too noisy, too smelly, too hot, too humid, too cold & always has too much damn construction! WTF? Yes, it's true I finally said something negative about NYC.

My inability to be happy lies within me & NOT where I live. Ain't nothing gonna make me happy but me! At least I didn't have to get caught in a twister to find that out, but the last few years have felt like I've been hit hard by a hurricane.


I don't have sequined shoes (yet) but I do have red high top sneakers & they are very worn out from clicking my heels too often. Don't get me wrong, I love the freedom, the flexibility & the heart of NYC, but it's just getting more challenging to meet up with friends or family. Maybe it's their obsession with their jobs, or the fact that some have children, or that others have become too inflexible to make any plans.

Well, it is what it is & "I Am What I Am" (yes I'm quoting Broadway show tunes again). Just like Pippin, I'm still trying to find my "Corner of the Sky" & realize "Day by Day" that I never needed to look any further than my own back yard... wherever the hell that is!


Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia



Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products. 

June 28, 2013

Do You Believe in Love?

We were ecstatic to be a part of The Stonewall Rally... it was a truly memorable day for all of us in NYC. The rally was held outside of The Stonewall Inn - the landmark bar where The Gay Rights Movement began. Edith Windsor (the lesbian who took on DOMA) gave a touching & powerful speech as the crowd cheered. Love was in the air on this hot, humid historic day. The streets were filled with a diverse crowd celebrating with signs, flags, big smiles, hugs & tears. There were news reporters, photographers & a sea of people all wanting to capture & relish this special moment.

It's so ironic for us that The Marriage Equality Act was passed in NY when we were in CA & that California's Prop 8 was struck down when we were in NYC ! What's that about?


Outside of The Stonewall Inn
Either way, the fact remains that DOMA was overturned on Wednesday 6/26/13 & that it is a federal ruling. We are now "all equal" - so why don't I believe it? We know that this may drag out (no pun intended) & get flack (I'm not talking Roberta). I won't get too tacky, but a governor from across the Hudson already started opening his fat mouth filled with moronic statements.

The 
local newspaper called to ask us for our reaction to the ruling for their story. I said "...it took a long time for people to realize the world wasn't flat also..." and my husband said "we are finally just 'as good' as everyone else..."


The Rally on Christopher Street
How great that the decision happens to coincide with NYC's Gay Pride celebration & whatta extra special celebration it will be this year! It's so perfect that Cher (one of the gayest icons) will be performing at this year's NYC Pride Dance on the Pier. So yes, Cher we do "Believe" &  "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."


Thanks for visiting! Please follow, share & spread the word...
Facebook - nyc2suburbia         Twitter - @nyc2suburbia


Displaced New Yorker? nyc2suburbia Commuter? If U love NYC, Suburbia OR both, our products are for you! Survive with your unique Style, $ense & Sanity with nyc2suburbia products.