The Cowsills, Levitt Pavillion, Bethlehem, PA, Aug. 31, 2014

Published August 31, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5903Anticipating the show!

SAM_5907And I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew, they would make me happy, happy, happy!

SAM_5928Original Cowsills: Susan, Paul and Bob

SAM_5938Gorgeous Susan

How can anyone not love The Cowsills? Their harmonies are off the hook and they had great, catchy hits. Even the more obscure songs are fantastic if you buy all their records and CDs, there’s so much to enjoy. Though they’re best known for “Hair,” “The Rain, the Park and Other Things,” and “Love American Style.” They’re the real family band The Partridge Family was emulated after.

Last night was the first time my husband and I saw them perform. They hit the stage and I heard the first note of “The Rain, the Park and Other Things” and like a big mush, tears fell from my eyes. It’s a beautiful, happy song and after hearing it since I was a little girl, to see the people who did it performing right before me — and so perfectly too — it was absolutely surreal!

Original members included: Susan, Paul and Bob Cowsill. Other members: Ryan Cowsill on keyboard, Brendon Cowsill on guitar and Robby Scharf on bass.

After the show I was able to get the set list, so here it is:

The Rain, The Park and Other Things

You Were On My Mind

Deliver Me

Most of All

The Boxer

You In My Mind

Just Believe It

Be My Baby

We Can Fly

Indian Lake (Note: at this point they invited the children up on stage, it was absolutely precious).

Puff the Magic Dragon

If I Had My Way

Helpless Hoping

Covered Wagon

River of Love

Love American Style (By now, I was hanging at the stage front, singing along with the band and dancing!)

I Think I Love You (Written by Tony Romeo, who also wrote their song “Indian Lake” and many other great songs, including songs by another favorite of mine — Lou Christie!)

Going Home

Hair (Hearing this legendary song live blew my mind! All the years I imagined dancing to it at a night club, now I got to dance to The Cowsills performing it right in front of me!)

After “Hair” they came out and did “The Rain, The Park and Other Things” as an encore, then had a meet and great. I had them sign my set list.¬† They were very nice people. It was an honor and I’m still high the next day!

SAM_5951So cool meeting the band! Such nice people :)

SAM_5957Autograph on back of set list.

I love that Bob wrote “Thank You!” – Doesn’t get more real than that!

National Park Service Hires Homegrown Talent to Work at Falls

Published August 25, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5586Paterson Falls (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

A couple weeks ago I had the honor to interview two young people who are now working at The Falls.

For inspiration, read here: http://www.northjersey.com/towns/paterson/national-park-service-hires-homegrown-talent-to-work-at-paterson-s-great-falls-1.1075586

On Creativity

Published August 25, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_1842Art is not my strong point, but I enjoy it!

I want to give a round of applause to all my inspiring local artist/musician/writer friends who make a living off their art. Most of us are not of Michael Jackson celebrity status with someone working for us (and having the privilege of someone censoring nasty/hateful emails and handling our Twitter and Face Book pages). We do all the leg work promoting and negotiating payments for our creativity and have to deal with those who don’t “get it” — those who assume we are “egotistic” for promoting when we’re just working very hard to keep food on the table, pay for our own health care, go on nice trips/vacations, give gifts to loved ones and take care of our pets.

A person doesn’t choose to be creative. Creativity chooses us. If you can’t live, breath, function without being creative, that’s when you know what your calling is. It’s not about getting noticed or showing off. It’s about baring your heart and soul and making a labor of love out of your muse. It’s beautiful.

Creative people are the usually the most sensitive, caring people and LEAST EGOTISTICAL people on the planet. And when we’re not working we RARELY speak of what we do for a living. I just had four back-to-back meals with loved ones where I never once mentioned public speaking, my business Pear Tree, or my books. Nor do any of my creative friends talk about their work unless it’s one-on-one between two creative people discussing projects.

I never believed one had to suffer for their art, but it’s a harsh reality that there will be jealous people who try to make you suffer. So, I say to all of you, chin up and keep moving forward. At least we are lucky we “get” each other! CHEERS! xo

Sunday Happies!

Published August 24, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5883It’s Sunday and I’m ready to hit the road with my hubby!

Another gorgeous Sunday in New Jersey.

I was thrilled to finally be able to grab a bite at Cave in Avon-by-the-Sea. It’s a paleo restaurant. I’ve been eating paleo for a few months now and my body loves it! I had grass-fed beef chili, with avocado and a bullet-proof coffee for dessert. The place was cute and cozy and service was excellent!

SAM_5886Grass-fed beef chili with avocado

This dish was so heavenly. It took me back to my Girl Scout days when I had a dish called “Sloppy Joe.”

SAM_5888Bullet Proof Coffee!

Bullet Proof coffee is organic coffee made in a blender with coconut oil and grass-fed butter. Your body will love the healthy fats that give you great energy without the caffeine¬† jitters! Something about the mixture just does a body good! I serve it to my husband in bed. I also make a great oolong tea version with unsweetened cocoa — it’s killer!

After Cave, we cruised along the beach and then visited a friend. A lovely full day with perfect weather!

SAM_5891How cute!

We don’t know these people, but the dog was so adorable, I’m so glad I got a great shot on the way home!

Good Friends Are a Beautiful Blessing!

Published August 23, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5880Darlene, Me and Linda

I’m still celebrating my birthday and it was super cool to have a celebration lunch today with two of my favorite friends, Darlene and Linda at Huntley Taverne (www.thehuntleytaverne.com) where they serve organic, sustainable foods. I had a delicious egg dish with vegetables and for dessert blueberries and peaces with local honey and two cups of coffee (in which I added farm, unsalted butter to get some extra healthy fat).

As you can see from the website the place is beautiful. Plus we had a great waitress! And, the music was fantastic. Mostly 1970s: Eagles, Stevie Nicks, The Beatles, Jim Croce … The three of us were just so relaxed we didn’t want to leave.

I always count my blessings with good friends because they are so hard to come by. These wonderful ladies have been in my life several years and I can always count on a great time when we get together.

I’m happy and feel very loved!

A Taste of Philly

Published August 21, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5757Eastern State Penitentiary

The past couple days my husband and I spent some time relaxing and sight seeing in Philadelphia, PA. For our privacy, though we’ve taken hundreds of photos we decided not to share with the public, but rather select a few cool highlights. One was the Eastern State Penitentiary where Al Capone stayed. We spent over two hours on a guided tour that was absolutely awesome. Definitely worth checking out: http://www.easternstate.org/

Of places we ate, the favorite¬† was Fare Restaurant (www.farerestaurant.com) — all organic, local and sustainable. The service was excellent. Even a waitress who wasn’t taking care of us kept looking toward our table and smiling. I asked for sweet potatoes in replacement of white and we weren’t even charged extra. And the food was just perfect! Definitely a place I’d love to go back to.

We stayed at a lovely hotel at a waterfront, with a pool and sauna. So in addition to sight seeing, relaxing was in the picture as well.

On the last day we checked out the Liberty Bell and where the Declaration of Independence was signed, as well as many gift shops. So much to explore and definitely worth going back. It was only my second time in Philly.

SAM_5832View from our room

When People Don’t Get Over It

Published August 18, 2014 by Maryanne

Give Forgiveness

I suck at many things in life, but one of the things I do take pride in is that I’m a good friend. I guess it’s how I was raised. My grandmother always had our home and pool open to everyone. She had a dynamic personality and was loved by many. I miss my Grandmother terribly and alongside with my husband, she’s one of the greatest people who ever lived on this planet.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that my grandmother and I didn’t fight. We’re Italian. We fought. And some of those fights were horrific, but I’ll spare you the gory details.

The thing is, my Grandmother and I were always forgiving. Sometimes we’d be talking to each other and she’d interrupt the conversation and say, “Hey, aren’t we supposed to be mad at each other?” Then we’d both laugh and that was how we made up.

If only life with others was that simple.

There are people that are mad at me and I don’t know what I ever did to them. But something must be eating them up about me and it’s sad because like I said, I’m a great friend. Here’s why: There’s not a jealous bone in my body. I love when my friends become successful. I’m very supportive and full of sincere (not ass-kissing) comments. I have a great sense of humor. I love to get together with people. When in a group, I make a point of including everyone in the conversation. I reach out — not just email, but on the telephone. And I’m honest.

Yeah, honesty is a trait many lack. Honesty is very important to me. If you can’t be honest with family and friends, who can you be honest with? If I’m doing something you don’t like — please, point it out to me, in a caring friendly way so I can fix it.

The worst thing a person can do, in my opinion, is hold hatred in. I recently learned that a “friend” was holding in over 30 years of hatred toward me.

But let me back up a bit … a few years ago another friend shared a story that he got into a fight with one of his friends who told him something like he was always a crappy friend and he never liked him. It made no sense that someone would say something like that to someone else. How can you say that to someone you spent time with and hung around with? Because what does that scenario say about my friend’s “friend”? It means that “friend” was a PHONY! Ew, phony is totally in the creepy, ugly category!

Now, the cool thing is, my friend told the person something like, “I’m sorry you feel that way about me. I always had good times with you.” And that’s exactly how I felt about this “friend” of mine. A friend of over 30 years who I just learned was holding in massive hatred in towards me. I was always having a good time during the friendship and I pitied him that he felt such severe animosity toward me. This friend was holding in so much hatred he finally felt it was his duty to rip me apart in a nasty email pointing out what he assumed to be my flaws and things I did wrong when I was a TEENAGER! And we are now both middle-aged!

Then he sends a second nasty email to tell me how much his ex-girlfriend (who he also bad-mouthed several times) hated me — as if that justifies his hatred. It was truly laughable especially since I wasn’t crazy about his ex-girlfriend either, so at least that part of it was semi-fair. But him hating me, after doing so much together over the years: parties, concerts, dinners, family stuff … since we were practically babies. So I was confused. Why would this person be friends with me for 30 years if he hated me so much? Shame on him, right? And all in an email. This loser didn’t even have the balls to call me.

In my confusion, I shared the story with a few people and one person brought up something genius: “He never forgave you.” Okay, makes sense. He never forgave me for things I did when I was a teenager. Now that explains why this “friend” was always less than perfect (yet I was accepting of his many flaws). First off, I was always the one reaching out and sharing, calling, etc. But I chalked it up to the dude made little money and was a job hopper, so he couldn’t afford to make a phone call. I was actually shocked the one time he did reach out. As a former alcoholic, this person wanted to apologize for never going to my grandmother’s funeral. I said it was not a problem. I had many people there who loved me to support me. I understand funerals are not for everyone. So I forgave him, though there was nothing to forgive in that instance. What DID bother me was when I sent him something cool and he failed to acknowledge it. All I did was send an email saying it “didn’t feel too good.” This is when “friend” decided to rip me a new asshole.

My husband said if someone flips out like that, over nothing, they are not wrapped too tight — borderline crazy. He said not to answer his emails anymore, that I might say something to really push this person over the edge. And just days after what happened to Robin Williams, you can’t be too careful. “Stay away from people like that,” he warned, so I wouldn’t get hurt again.

In the past, I’ve forgiven all kinds of kooky people, only to get hurt a second time. And now, as I grow older, I realize it’s very hard to forgive people who don’t forgive you. And by “hard,” I don’t mean hard to forgive them, I mean hard to have an honest friendship. When people SNAP during anger, it shows a lot of things: instability, dishonesty, being unable to communicate and most likely jealousy. An unstable, unhappy person just waits for that moment to POUNCE on another person, especially if that person is happy and successful. I never have these types of incidences with people who are in a good place in life.

A healthy person understands that friends fight. And it’s okay. That is sometimes how you build a stronger friendship. One of the cutest things a friend once said to me was, “That’s how we can love each other, telling each other what we like and don’t like.”

Though I have quite a few friends that I’ve never had a fight with. That’s okay too, as sometimes you get into a groove of how to handle someone and that’s a beautiful thing if you can do it.

The thing is you have to weed out people who don’t get over it. They are trouble. If a person can’t give the gift of forgiveness, best you forget about them. You deserve much better :)