All posts for the month May, 2012

Me, age 48, with and without make-up

Published May 28, 2012 by Maryanne

Me, September 2011, age 48 – NO MAKE-UP!

Me, December 2011, with make-up (Photo by Darlene Foster)

Last summer, a month after my 48th birthday, something was going on with my eye. The eye doctor I was going to at the time couldn’t find anything wrong and said it was allergies.

It was so bizarre. Every time I went to put make-up on, my right eye would pinch and tear and hurt. This went on for a few months. So from September to November I didn’t wear any make-up at all and my eyes felt fine.

In late November, the eye problem mysteriously went away as it mysteriously came. And now it’s spring and the “eye allergies” never came back.

Going without make-up was equally liberating as it was humiliating and frustrating. Make-up has been a part of my personality since I was a teenager. I love make-up, especially eye make-up. I felt naked without it and always thought I looked washed out or tired — or like a plain Jane.

But after looking at some photos of me without make-up and seeing how nice my skin looks, I feel I had nothing to worry about. I do look kinda cute without it as long as I remember to SMILE!

So, to ladies who love make-up, if there’s ever a time you have to go without it — don’t be scared, you might be pleasantly surprised at how refreshing it feels going all natural!

How to Respect a Vegetarian

Published May 28, 2012 by Maryanne


Happy Memorial Day Fellow Bloggers!

It’s a day to respect what our soldiers fought and died for. This morning I lit my candle and took a moment of silence three times throughout the morning and afternoon.

Today also marks the day that starts off the summer cook-outs. As a vegetarian, it’s hard enough getting through the winter holidays with people not getting it. Now there’s a whole slew of summer holidays to get through with people not getting it.

It really is a shame that people don’t make more of an effort to understand the vegetarian lifestyle. Yes, some of us are vegetarians because we love animals. But we are also vegetarians because we care about our health and are conscious about what we eat.

So here are my top five issues with people who don’t understand the vegetarian lifestyle and hopefully someday in the future, life will be a little bit easier for all of us.

Top 5 Tips for Non-Vegetarians

1. TRY the food that a vegetarian brings to your party!  I’ve been to numerous parties where I was the only vegetarian. I’d  bring food and not one person touched my dish. I find this insulting and hurtful, especially because I’ve been told by a lot of people that I’m a great cook — vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Some even said I should open my own restaurant. Vegetarian food doesn’t meant it’s tasteless or just “grass.” That old  “rabbit food” joke went out the same year your mullet did, so we vegetarians are just sick of hearing it!

Most people can afford to lose a few pounds anyway by eating something healthy, so just be a sport and you may be pleasantly surprised.

2. Fruit and vegetables are delicious without unhealthy toppings! Strawberries are delicious. Period. They do not need whipped cream on them or to be smothered in cheap ass milk chocolate. String beans are very tasty raw. They do not need to be put into a casserole with breading and cheese overload.

3. For the love of God, give the veggie burgers a separate section on the grill. A friend did that for me once and I was absolutely tickled! That was very thoughtful and unexpected! No vegetarian wants a veggie burger with meat juice.

4. CHEESE IS NOT VEGETARIAN! I can’t say that loud enough. It contains milk and rennet, which comes from an animal sources.

5. We Eat a Helluva Lot More Than Pasta and Vegetables. To everyone in the 21st Century who is entertaining guests, I highly suggest buying a vegetarian cookbook or do some heavy duty “Googling.”

I dread going to yet another party, wedding,  or gathering where the only thing I could eat is pasta, potatoes and salad. And cake is made with animal lard, so when I refuse cake do not be offended.

It would be nice if there was something sweet I could enjoy at the end of my meal, besides a generic fruit salad purchased at an A&P. There’s a ton of vegetarian and vegan desserts that can be purchased pre-made or you can experiment and make yourself by just doing a Google search for “simple vegan desserts.”

So to all the non-vegetarians in the world, please be a little more creative. I beg you!

–Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta


‘Getting Cards and Letters (and Blogs) From People I Don’t Even Know’

Published May 27, 2012 by Maryanne

Legendary Glen Campbell and daughter, Ashley

Last night my husband and I got to see Glen Campbell perform his “Goodbye Tour” at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. We didn’t know what to expect because a year ago Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and has been suffering memory loss.

His warm-up act was Instant People, an indie rock/country band which included three of his eight children. They did a wonderful short set (and I really enjoyed them, they had a style similar to one of my favorite new(er) artists, Ben Kweller).

I would definitely love to see them again — performing a longer set!

After a short break, Instant People returned to the stage to assist the legendary Glen Campbell perform. Members of Instant People and others who make up Glen’s band are: Ashley Campbell (banjo, keyboard & vocals); Cal Campbell (drums); Shannon Webb Campbell (guitar); TJ Kuenster (keyboards) who has performed with Glen over 35 years; Ryan Andre Jarred (guitar); and Siggy Sjursen (bass).

Glen hit the stage and began with “Gentle on My Mind.” He was forgetting lyrics from the get-go and had to restart the song.

The best things about the show were: #1, Glen Campbell, at age 78, is still a wonderful showman. This was the first time I ever saw him and he really commands the stage and has a great presence. He still looks good and healthy, in spite of having Alzheimer’s.  God bless his soul.

#2, Glen can still play the guitar. And unless you’re a musician or have a really good ear, you may not even realize he was playing the wrong key. (Most of the time I didn’t, but one song it was very obvious and his daughter, Ashley, kept helping him out and mouthing the right key to him).

#3, To hear so many songs that I love and have loved since I was a little girl, performed right before me by a legend gave me thrills throughout the night. I screamed like a teenager throughout the show. Even though he did many hits, including “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights” I have to say my all time favorite Glen Campbell song is — and always will be — “Galveston.”

We ran into a bunch of friends at the show, and one mentioned how sad it was to hear the line in “Galveston,” that says, “I’m so afraid of dying” as that line now takes on a whole new poignant meaning, as he called this his “Good-Bye” tour. And thinking about this, will now and forever bring tears to my eyes.

Yes, Glen struggled a lot with his set. Aside from forgetting words and chords, it seemed something was going wrong with the bassist, Siggy Sjursen and Glen didn’t want him to play. That was sad to see and I felt so bad for the kid, as I thought he was doing a great job (and so did my husband, who is also a professional bassist). Siggy sat out a few songs, then eventually left the stage.

We were guessing that maybe because of the Alzheimers something he heard from the bass was throwing him off. Maybe we’ll find out soon enough when some of the professional reviews come out.

But aside from the struggles, his fans were extremely supportive and cheered him on throughout the night with several standing ovations.

His daughter, Ashley, was  a doll. She watched over him during the entire set, coaching and encouraging him, and taking flowers from fans and putting them aside for him. The father/daughter love between the two is so evident and moving. Ashley is a beautiful girl, no doubt, a cross between Christina Applegate and Lisa Marie Presley. But her beauty also comes from within. Such a young girl (I just read she is only 24 or 25), and seemingly wise for her years, looking out for her daddy is heart-rendering.

Glen and Ashley did a killer dueling banjo and guitar duet that was off the hook fantastic.

One of my favorite Glen Campbell songs, “Country Boy” wasn’t performed. But he has so many hits, that it was expected he would omit a few. What I am grateful for was that he did the ENTIRE songs! I always hate going to see an artist and they chop up songs and make them into “medleys.” It’s like painting a mustache on a Mona Lisa and simply should not be done.

It was nice to hear a few tunes from his new album, “Ghost on the Canvas.” It’s a great album and on it are collaborations with Paul Westerberg, Jakob Dylan, Chris Issak, Rick Nielson and Billy Corgan.

Prior to the show we met a nice bunch of ladies who called themselves the “biggest Glen Campbell fans from New Jersey.” They told us they saw him perform in the 1970s! (I am so jealous!) and gave him flowers.

After the show, my husband and I walked past the tour bus. I said, “It’s a gorgeous night, let’s hang out a bit.”

The first thing we witnessed was bassist Siggy Sjursen asking where the nearest bar was.

When Siggy returned, I whispered to my husband to tell him that he was great in spite of what happened. My husband yelled out to him, “You were great, man!”

After we saw some fans taking pictures with Siggy, we asked if we could take a picture. He was generous enough to do so and even patted me on the back when I said “Thank you” and he said, “Thank YOU” back.

Soon afterwards Ashley came out of the tour bus and met with fans and took photos. I straight out told her, “You’re beautiful, talented and you take such good care of your father.” She was really appreciative that I said the part about taking care of her father.

The love between those two reminds me of how much I love (and miss) my late grandmother.

I wish Mr. Campbell lots of luck as he continues his tour. This is a show that will be etched in my mind for a very long time!

Happy Munster Day!

Published May 13, 2012 by Maryanne

Maryanne w/Butch Patrick “Eddie Munster”

Maryanne with Candy Clark

Maryanne and original BATMOBILE!

Car show season has arrived!

Kicking off the season is an event my husband and I love to attend each year called, “Dead Man’s Curve.” There are hundreds of hot rods and historic cars, vendors, bands and celebrities from yesteryear.

This year we got to meet Butch Patrick from “The Munsters.” He was super cool. I actually meet him years ago in a bar. He approached me and said, “Hi, I’m Butch.” I just said, “Hi,” smiled and didn’t say much because I am shy. When I’m not in journalist mode, interviewing someone famous, it’s so much easier when my husband is around because he’s great with people.

While my husband took our picture, Butch said, “So, Maryanne, you finally escaped from Gilligan’s Island.”

I said, “Actually, I’m a Ginger wannabe!”

How true! How true! (My favorite episode of “Gilligan’s Island” was when Maryanne got amnesia and thought she was Ginger and sang, “I Wanna Be Loved By You.”)

We met Candy Clark too. She’s best known from “American Graffiti” and I must say, she’s still a fox! Very nice lady and funny as hell. We overheard her telling another fan that she spent some time in Montclair (my former hometown) and she loved shopping for antiques there. VERY COOL!

We got to see the Batmobile (for the second time! And this time I got to go inside!)

There were some great bands too: The Tarantinos, a surf garage band from NYC that did all songs from Tarantino’s movies. And Rockabilly Express played, which featured Brian Setzer’s (from Stray Cats) brother, Gary Setzer. A friend of theirs came up front and did some crazy hula hoop moves.

Finally, we got to check out vendors. I scored an old issue of “Planet of the Apes” magazine and “Dynamite” (an ultra cool publication for teens in the ’70s published in NYC).

Ahh, what a happy day and a great start to car show season! And I just started my tan!

Aquarian Arts Weekly Makes Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame

Published May 12, 2012 by Maryanne

I am thrilled that New Jersey’s Aquarian/Arts weekly has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Aquarian debuted in 1969, but I discovered it when I was a teenager, circa 1980. I’d walk to the Quick Check across the street from my high school to buy the magazine when I was 16 or 17 to see what bands were playing. Not that the information did me any good, as we didn’t have “all ages” shows back then. So, the big thing, for me, was seeing what bands were in record stores signing autographs, or performing at Great Adventure.

Other than getting music news, the Aquarian played a role in my career — on a few levels. It was the first newspaper to ever publish a letter that I wrote. At age 17, I trashed another letter writer who put down punk rock. My letter had to be at least 500 words (hand-written, as there were no home computers for the middle class in 1981) because it took up an entire column! I defended punk rock and told the world that teenage girls knew that The Clash stood for much more than “Mick Jones is so cute.” And what great people The Plasmastics were because they were so loyal to their fans.

When I was 19, I started designing crossword puzzles by hand (the American Society of Mechancial Engineers later published one in their newsletter). Again — by hand — because there were no home computers to do these things on. While my idea for a rock ‘n’ roll crossword puzzle was declined back then (they later had someone else do them!) I got to speak on the phone with the founder, James Resinbrink, pitching my idea!

By age 28, I made it in the Aquarian again. This time, it was modeling for a Fender guitar promotion ad for Long & McQuade Music (a Canadian music chain, and the only store in the U.S. was in New Jersey!)

I was dressed in a black teddy, in the best shape of my life, with cherry red lipstick, and the headline to the ad read, “How Would You Like to Take This Baby Home?” And in a subhead, underneath, “Of course we mean the guitar!” Ooh-la-la!

Friends that I haven’t heard from in years called me up to say how “killer” that ad was!

A few years later, my friend, actor, Scott Schiaffo, had a feature in the Aquarian because he was the Chewlies man in Kevin Smith’s film “Clerks.” During this time, 1994 (I was 30), I was on a compilation tape with Scott, called, “See It Feel It Hear It Vol. 1.” I read my own poetry, with Scott playing guitar in the background. Scott promoted this tape in his article and once again, my name was in print in The Aquarian.

And finally, in 2002, at age 39, I had my own goth column in the Aquarian! I got to interview amazing people like: The Nuns, Diamanda Galas and Lydia Lunch!

During that time period I also did CD reviews and part-time copy-editing for The Aquarian.

The goth column was a short run, but I didn’t mind because I was working full time at another newspaper and also deejaying in NYC.

Who knows if I’ll ever be a part of The Aquarian again. It’s not something I’m actively pursuing, as I’m pretty burnt out on writing about music since during my career I’ve also written for, Punk Magazine (which is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) and participated in a column called “On That Note” for The Montclair Times.

There may have been more things of significance with my involvement with the Aquarian that I’m forgetting due to the fact that just so much that has always been going on in my life.

But, wow, I’m so happy that a music newspaper from New Jersey, that played a role in my life made it big time!

My husband and I will save the special pull-out section, as an ad for his 1980s band, Pharoah is also in there!

The Animal Bucket List

Published May 9, 2012 by Maryanne

I hear so much about “bucket lists.” I decided to come up with one of my own.

While I started writing my bucket list, I realized my “must do before I die” list has everything to do with animals. Those who know me will not be surprised, as I’m the one who prefers having ground hogs in my backyard to a garden; the one who stops to pet each and every dog I meet in passing;  the one who longs to someday live on a farm; and the one who always has cat hair on her clothing.

So, here it is — My Official Bucket List (with the ones I’ve done already striked through!)

Ride a camel

Hold a koala bear

Ride an elephant

Own a ball python

Hold a baby pig

Swim with a dolphin

Own a pocket-sized poodle

Own a Chihuahua

Own an Italian Greyhound

Own a ferret

Come face-to-face with an eel while snorkeling! (which is why I no longer snorkel!)

Ride a horse on the beach with my husband (how romantic is this one?!)

Milk a cow or a goat

Eat frog’s legs (didn’t like them, tasted too much like chicken)

Hold a monkey

Watch a cat give birth

Watch a dog give birth

Hold a baby squirrel

Pet a baby tiger (make that “pet every cute baby animal there is on this planet!”)

Smuggle a grasshopper from Florida to New Jersey (I did that when I was 9, and the grasshopper lived in New Jersey until the end of the summer!)

Ride a horse, English-style, Western-style AND bare-back!

Teach a pet a trick (make that an impressive trick, I don’t think teaching a cat to go crazy for Super Goo counts!)

Continue to treat my cats with such love that they live until at least 20! (They are 16 and 18 now!)

And a few things that weren’t on my animal bucket list, that were not so cool 

1. Got bit by a pig

2. Got bit by a squirrel

3. Got thrown from a horse

4. A pony stepped on my foot when I was 10 (a pony !! and it hurt like hell!!)

Happy Birthday Dick!

Published May 4, 2012 by Maryanne

Dick Dale, Me, and my husband Dennis, Surf Club, circa 2007 or 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the surf guitar legend, Dick Dale! Today he is 75-years-old and still touring!

One of the traditions in our household is to see Dick Dale when he comes to New Jersey every year, which is usually at Joey Harrison’s Surf Club down the shore. For a few years, we missed him because Dick had some struggles with cancer and wasn’t touring. But now he is all well and touring all over the USA!

Dick is a legend. For those old enough, you may remember him in the 1960s surf movies. And for you youngsters, you may best know him for his music being featured in “Pulp Fiction.”

Even in his 70s, Dick is still a hit with the ladies. The first time I saw Dick, I was absolutely shocked at all the young girls in the front row, SCREAMING for him! It was just so damn cute. Some even wore buttons that read, “I love Dick!”

I am always one of the girls in the front (but not young and not screaming). The first time I saw him perform, Dick pat me on the head and gave me his guitar pick.

My husband said, “Pat on the head by a legend!”

Dick is very accessible to his fans. Anyone can meet him, get his autograph and chat with him. Who knows — maybe even hang out with him. (I once overheard him giving out his phone number to a fan. And another time, the day after he performed, I found his card on the boardwalk with his phone number on it).

Well, finding out Dick is returning to the Surf Club this summer just made my day even happier! The Surf Club is a fabulous place to see a show. The back of the club is gutted out, so you can go on the beach and dance and drink, while you are listening to great music. And after a few drinks, you may even feel like you are in one of Dick Dale’s beach movies!

Yoga for health, love and peace.

Published May 2, 2012 by Maryanne

“The Inner Path” (Photo by Darlene Foster).

Me, doing one of my favorite things — yoga! (2010)

This was a portion of my Pear Tree business newsletter this month:

As much as I love my career because every day is different, I feel that some repetitiveness is necessary in order to achieve excellence. For instance, I can’t start my day without doing three important things:

  1. Spending a moment in prayer after I awaken.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Consuming good breakfast with fresh juice.

These three repetitive things everyday – weekends included – are good habits that, I feel, allow me to achieve excellence, not only in my business but in my social life.

Exercise is wonderful. I love so many forms of exercise: swimming, biking, kickboxing, Pilates, power walks, light weights, etc.

But I have to say, yoga is the one form of exercise I love best. First of all, you get it ALL in one sweet package: toning, weight loss, stretching, muscle building (when you lift weight — you lift your own weight!) For anyone who hasn’t tried it, trust me, it’s not “marshmallow.” You will sweat! (And I’m not even talking about Bikram or Hot Yoga — just doing regular yoga will give you an excellent workout!)

Yoga is not only good for the outside, but the inside too. It massages your internal organs, helps control the breath and can help assist in preventing diseases.

I’ve been practicing yoga since 4th grade, when I was 9-years-old and accidentally stumbled upon a show called “Yoga for Health” in the 1970s, staring Richard Hittleman (RIP). Since then I was hooked and made yoga a part of my exercise routine.

All the years of doing yoga, I am far from an expert. Yet, I crave it. My favorite yoga positions are twists and balancing poses. But I also enjoy back bends and shoulder stands.

Yoga puts me at a peace in my life, that I know others lack. After a yoga session my body feels alive and at one with the world. I know I could do anything the day has to offer. And I don’t complain about the many things I have to do in life  like other people do. I just simply go down the list and just make sure lots of fun things are thrown in the mix!

Do I have an assignment to cover a story and be onsite at 8:30 a.m. — (and go to a late night concert that very same night)? No problem.

Is my “to do” list so big, I need a wide ruled 70-sheet notebook? No problem.

Does my day get thrown off kilter because unexpected things get tossed my way. Don’t worry — it’s covered!

Do friends or family worry about me because they don’t hear from me? Never. I always get back to people in a timely manner. People must think I have nothing to do with my life because I am always the person they can count on. Not so — I have PLENTY to do — but I am the queen of multi-tasking!

If everyone started their day with yoga — even for just 10 minutes — there would be less car accidents, less stress, less misunderstandings and less disappointments. There would be more positivity, more productivity and certainly much more love!

And the world always needs more LOVE!

Derick. Jeter?

Published May 1, 2012 by Maryanne

My kitty, Derick

When I tell people I have a cat named Derick, they think I named him after baseball great, Derek Jeter.

Well, #1, sad to say, I don’t follow baseball.

And #2, that beauty of a cat, pictured above, is 16-years-old! I got him waaaaay before Derek Jeter became a household name.

But after what just happened in our home, I think I should start calling this cat, Jeter!

My father-in-law walked in the room and saw Derick sitting in front of the television watching the game. When the batter hit the baseball, Derick jumped up and tried to catch the ball!