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All posts for the month August, 2012

But It Will Always Be “West Paterson” To Me

Published August 31, 2012 by Maryanne

West Paterson, New Jersey; since 2009 known as Woodland Park

This afternoon a client said that she’d need a ride to Woodland Park.

I didn’t know where the hell she was talking about and started getting a little nervous, thinking she was asking me to drive her to somewhere way up the Parkway and then I’d get stuck in massive holiday weekend traffic on the way back.

Then I figured it out … oh, okay, Woodland Park … WEST PATERSON!

West Paterson was one of the towns I grew up in and the name was changed to Woodland Park in 2009 because the residents wanted to disassociate themselves with the city of Paterson which was significantly poorer and had a higher crime rate.

I felt this was extremely pretentious and even though I haven’t lived in West Paterson since I was a kid, I was very upset with the name change. West Paterson was the name of the town since May 1, 1914.

But New Jersey is no stranger to name changes. East Paterson, incorporated in 1916, changed it’s name to Elmwood Park in 1973 for the same reasons in hopes that property values would go up and not be confused with Paterson to outsiders.

On the flip side of the coin, Paterson residents felt the name changes were racist and discriminating and have cleverly suggested changing Paterson’s name to East Woodland Park or West Elmwood Park!

My client, who is originally a New Yorker, said that New York would never change the names of their boroughs. That is such a good point. Brooklyn was named back in 1634 and the name came from Breukelen, Netherlands. And I highly doubt any Brooklynites would ever want to change the name Brooklyn to something else. That’s a tight sense of community that you can’t help but admire.

Anyway, it’s been three years since the official name change, but to me it will always be “West Paterson” and that’s how I’ll refer to it!

Corpse Bride

Published August 29, 2012 by Maryanne

I feel guilty and please God forgive me!

I’m a good person with a big heart. I’m all for happy endings. For the most part, I don’t make fun of people. I don’t gossip. I don’t laugh at people’s misfortunes. I love animals. And I’m so sentimental even a parade can make me cry.

I don’t like to hear anything bad happen to anyone. It truly does break my heart.

BUT I GOTTA BE HONEST …

My first reaction to the story about the Canadian bride getting water-logged and drowning to her death after going in the water wearing her wedding gown as she participated in a dumb tradition called “Trash the Dress” was LAUGHTER.

First of all, I call this tradition “DUMB” because it’s attention-seeking-keeping-up-with-the-joneses-narcissistic bullshit. Women feel they will never wear the dress again, so they try to do something they consider “artsy” with the dress and have it photographed.

This isn’t something I consider cool or admirable.

If you’re not going to ever wear a dress again that costs thousands of dollars, I have a ton of ideas for you. Why not give the dress to someone less fortunate? Why not sell the dress and give the money to cancer research? Why not SAVE the dress to remember your special day? Hell, I merely eloped and I’m saving my wedding outfit, including the shoes!

The dumb feat is so “me” — not “we” — oriented. A woman who got married just a few months ago should be floating on air  because of the attention she gets from her husband. She shouldn’t be doing childish things that beg for attention. Can we say “insecure”?

I question the security of half these marriages.

And getting rid of a very expensive dress is a slap in the face to the person who paid for the dress. What do all the mothers of the brides think about this “tradition” — I’d love to know.

As a middle-aged fool who now gets choked up and cries about almost anything, I have to admit I am surprised at my reaction of laughter to this incident. But, c’mon, we all know what happens when material gets wet. This story was just so absurd, the compassion in me took a holiday — which is so rare for a naturally compassionate person. The whole ultra-ridiculousness of it all stroked my funny bone — to the hilt!

Or maybe I’m just laughing at these idiots like I would laugh at the Jersey shore morons, with a roll of the eye and shake of the head.

But I have to admit, there’s another reason I found this story funny.

It reminded me of when I was a little girl. I used to play Batman with my Uncle Duke.

One day while we were playing Batman, Uncle Duke decided to jump in the swimming pool with his “cape” (a large beach towel)  wrapped around his neck.

BATMAN LEAPED OFF THE DIVING BOARD …

INTO THE POOL …

And the heavy wet cape around his neck almost choked him to death as he fought to come back up from under the water!

My poor uncle almost drowned, but what a way to go! It was hysterical!

I guess the moral of this story is, I think common people — both rich and poor —  should just accept that they are mere common people and leave the Jackass attention-grabbing stunts to Johnny Knoxville and Steve O. — who I’m sure will leave us with a damn good laugh too when they kick the bucket via their stunts.

And at least I won’t feel nearly as bad for finding humor in it!

 

 

“Poor” Me

Published August 26, 2012 by Maryanne

If I can remember correctly, I started this blog in February.

It was during a time when business was slow and I figured if I wrote a blog about positive things it would lift my spirits.

Of all of the internet things I’ve explored over the years: message boards, Live Journal, Twitter, Face Book, Linked In, etc., I have to say I love blogging the best.

The blogging community is very supportive of each other. And I am very intimidated (in a good way) and inspired by all the talent that is out there. I am truly addicted and learning so much from this educational tool called “blogging.”

A month or so ago, I was having a bad day … a really bad day. I had to “break up” with two girlfriends who were dragging me down. It’s always sad to see a friend go, but if it’s toxic, you have to be honest with yourself and let go. Of course I cherish the good times and smile, but in my heart, I had to move on.

My mistake was blogging about it when I was right smack in the midst of the drama. I promised myself I’d keep my blog as positive as possible. “Edgy” was okay, but I didn’t want to go the negative route … and, darn it, I did.

I vented.Big time.

And while some people were concerned, which I appreciated, I got my first “poor” vote out of the five-star rating (“excellent” being the highest, which I often got).

I deserved the “poor” vote. That entry sucked!

But what I didn’t deserve were all the “poor” votes that followed in days ahead. Every single blog I wrote, no matter how many “excellent”s I received, there was this one voter putting “poor” on my blogs — every day — no matter what the topic was, bringing an “excellent” rating down to “very good” or even a mere “good.”

When I checked my stats, it gave me a good idea who this person was because this person is the only one who reads my blog from a certain country … and whenever THIS person from THAT country read my blog, THAT is when I got the “poor” rating.

So, I fixed that person’s sorry ass and took the rating system off my blog. Get your jollies somewhere else, hun.

People like that crack me up.

It’s like, if you think my blog is so “poor” — why are you still reading?

And what is equally funny — and a big ego booster on my part — is that here’s this tool, giving me “poor” ratings,  while I’m out having the TIME OF MY LIFE with my friends, or husband, or rocking my career.

It doesn’t make sense, right?

If I don’t like something, I ignore it. I’m not going to waste my time or my eyesight reading something that I feel is “poor.”

If I can help it, I don’t listen to music I feel is “poor”; I don’t spend time with people I feel are “poor” company; and I don’t eat “poor” food.

In other words — I don’t do “poor”!

So, fellow bloggers, if you ever get a “poor” rating, you know it’s not from me.

If I feel your writing is not up to par with what you’ve been writing before, I may say so if I felt our friendship was comfortable enough, or I felt you’re a very secure person who didn’t necessarily need my approval but might appreciate my thoughts.

I once told Mitch Leigh, the brother of Joey Ramone, that I loved his band The Rattlers, but wasn’t as crazy for his other band Stop. This was honest critique from a fan. And I would definitely appreciate equally honest critique from someone who reads my blogs, or follows my articles.

But to constantly stalk someone’s blog and vote “poor” “poor” “poor” every day … well, now we go into “whack job” or “psycho stalker” status.

I’m not a fan of Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, Dave Matthews or Edie Brickell. Yet these artists will never know I dislike their work. Why? Because I’d never, ever, ever write them a hate mail letter. They are human beings, like you and I — probably all nice people too. And if I wrote something negative to someone while they are having a bad day — who knows what could happen?! Britney Spears might go as far as to shave her head!

One time I was dating a guy in a band who had a friend in another band. He got a kick out of the fact that his friend’s girlfriend didn’t dig his music.

It happens!

And on the flip side, I know people who like my writing skills, but don’t particularly care for me, personally. And I am FINE with that.

Let’s just all, as the Beatles say, “Let it Be.” Why be so obsessive about letting a person know you dislike them? Why do people always make it all about them? Me? I’d rather people know how much I think they’re great. Because it feels good to give encouragement and compliments. Hell, I’d hate myself knowing I gave someone a “poor” rating (unless it was for them giving me bad service, that I paid good money for, of course!)

Life is too short to do “poor” — hence the disabled ratings.

Enjoy, or don’t read. What can I say?

 

 

No Expiration Date!

Published August 25, 2012 by Maryanne

Me, in my 40s, with a very old car — we’re both classics!

I have to say, I love the ways of the world today.

No one is old anymore unless they want to be that way.

People are having second careers in their 50s and 60s. People are getting married later in life. People are having children later. People are jumping out of airplanes in their 70s. It’s amazing.

“Life is short” is a rule to live by because it really is. It’s great to make the most of every day. That is why I love my husband so much, his lust for life is right up there with mine. We have energy and we are certainly do-ers. Whether it’s being creative or just enjoying ourselves, our life is built on fun.

There is also the notion that “you have your whole life ahead of you.” I agree with this philosophy too. Some things just can’t be rushed and have to happen in their own time.

I’ve always considered myself a late bloomer. I mentioned before that I sold my first art piece at age 40. I had my first article published in a magazine at age 32. And at age 48, I married for the very first time. The rate I’m going, my first book won’t be published until age 50 (I have less than a year for that!) but it’s okay. I’m fine with that.

One of my biggest inspirations is model, Oleda Baker: http://www.oleda.com/about/

This woman is 77 and still models, writes and paints! (You’d be a fool not to check out her website and get a major dose of euphoria from her positive energy!)

It saddens me when I think of people a decade younger than her who just sit around, watch television and stay stagnant.

I don’t agree with the statement “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” because I’ve been around many old dogs who have upped their game and changed for the better.

I have so many things I still want to do in life. Yet I will not rush into these things, as I have so much on my plate already. Currently I’m kicking major ass as I hone my promotions/marketing skills (something people have been telling me I’d be good at since I was 20 and I never got inspired to do so until a few years ago); I’m going to be editing another book; I’m managing two senior entertainers; and laying the ground work for a book project. All this while still being a great wife and a great friend — not neglecting anyone in my life, not even my kitties! AND exercising and meditating regularly!

Each thing you do in life can lead to something else. The key is to just get out there and do it. And of course, help others “do it” too. If they want your help, that is!

When you don’t let your fears get in the way of your life, you will always have the energy and stamina to move ahead. Age shouldn’t be viewed as an “expiration date.”

It shouldn’t be up to us to decide, “I’m too old for that.” We are human beings that are capable of doing everything without letting age get in the way.

Let God or The Grim Reaper decide when it’s time for us to stop. It’s not in our hands, so don’t make it happen faster by giving up on life.

I’ve seen so many miracles because this planet is blessed with so many strong-willed, inspiring people. One of the most miraculous things I’ve seen is a former co-worker at a health food store who had cancer throughout her entire body. She got cured by the help of a holistic doctor. This woman wasn’t rich, but she started eating whole foods and raw organic foods. I ran into her a few years ago and she was very healthy.

I’ve had my own struggles in life and have overcome them because I refuse to be a victim of circumstances. My eyesight is very bad. It’s 20/20 with contacts, but without contacts it’s -9 (which means my glasses are super thick in order to have 20/20 vision!)

I’ve been struggling with finding an eye doctor I like and two doctors in a row, gave me the wrong prescription. Finally, after a year and a half, I am okay. All I needed was reading glasses to go over my contacts. No one could figure that out and I was struggling with eye pain due to eye strain for a year and a half. One dimwit eye doctor blamed it on allergies and said I was old and my eyes were drying up.

Not true because since I got the reading glasses — my eyes were pain free! Six months of feeling fantastic!

But until I figured out the piece of the puzzle, I continued to work, and write, and edit and do all the things I love. I never let anything stop me. And let me tell you — eye pain is horrible, it’s right up there with toothaches and migraines.

My point is, when there’s a will there’s a way.

My grandmother only lived to 76. She had diabetes and lost a leg. That didn’t stop her from going to Atlantic City, riding roller coasters and flirting with Elvis impersonators.

She was a real hoot!

All my friends are now 49 or older and doing great things: art, photography, music, teaching, being a parent … Life is good for all of us because we embrace it and don’t let age get in our way.

Like old cars, we may need tunes ups and more tender care, but we can still run … and be considered a classic!

A Cat’s Way Of Saying He Loves Us

Published August 15, 2012 by Maryanne

Kitty love!

Last night, as my husband and I were winding down, we had The Carpenter’s CD on.

The cats were on the bed with us, getting ready to snuggle for the night.

Just as Karen Carpenter started singing, “ahh-ahh-ahh, close to you” my cat, Derick, started mewing along. And he was on key too!

Damn cat sings better than I do!

See, animals are not dumb. They let you know you’re loved in the funniest ways.

Sessue Hayakawa

Published August 14, 2012 by Maryanne

Sessue Hayakawa, June 10, 1889 – Nov. 23, 1973

The other night I found an intriguing movie, “The Dragon Painter.”

It was a silent film from 1919!

For the past seven years I’ve really developed an interest in old Hollywood because in my former town, Montclair, they had old movie nights at the public library and that got me hooked.

“The Dragon Painter” was a tragic love story. The painter loses his gift of art when he finds true love.

I love the old Hollywood movies because they are so unpredictable, with surprise endings.

Sessue Hayakawa was considered a sex symbol of his time and a silent screen superstar. My husband pointed out that he looks like an Asian version of Elvis (and he does!)

He also became one of the highest paid Hollywood male stars of the 1910s!

Sessue Hayakawa acted in Hollywood and Japan, retiring in 1966. He then became a Zen Buddhist priest in Japan and gave acting lessons.

RIP Helen Gurley Brown — Feb. 18, 1922 to Aug. 13, 2012

Published August 14, 2012 by Maryanne

Author of “Sex and the Single Girl” and Cosmopolitan editor for over 30 years

Burt Reynolds, famous Cosmo layout, during the Gurley-Brown reign in ’70s

Model Paulina, 1980s cover

I remember the first time I saw Cosmopolitan magazine.

It was in the 1970s and Burt Reynolds was the “centerfold.”

I was only a kid, but my mom and aunt, who were only in their 20s, were giggling and showing the picture to me, my younger sister and younger cousin.

My grandfather got pissed at them for showing us such “filth.”

I was intrigued.

From that day on, every month when my mother’s Cosmopolitan issue came I had to look at it. I was too young to even know how to pronounce “Cosmopolitan” and as a little girl, referred to the magazine as “Cosmo-Politician.”

I guess in some ways beauty could be politics. But even in my young age, I figured out how to work it.

I asked my mother what she learned from the magazine.

“How ugly I am,” she said.

But on the contrary …

Each month they had a feature where they did make-overs for women. Cosmopolitan made plain Janes (“mouse burgers” as Gurley Brown would call them!) into goddesses via make-up and hairstyling.

So as the skinny kid with pimples and glasses — before glasses were fashionable — Cosmopolitan was my ray of hope. And once I got my hands into make-up, I transformed myself into a beautiful 15-year-old who looked 18 (the thing all 15-year-olds wanted to hear!)

Throughout the 1980s I tried to emulate the looks of the models on the cover — big hair and a ton of make-up! Fuschia on the cheeks and eyes was a key element to “the look.” And don’t forget, Aqua Net Extra Super Hold — otherwise known as “glue in a can.” Every photo I posed for, I pouted — whether it was at a nightclub, for work or for family. I wanted to be Cosmo 24/7.

And if anyone doubted my look (because growing up in suburbia meant being surrounded by a lot of conservatives) I’d tell them they don’t know what they are talking about because they obviously don’t read Cosmopolitan!

I was never jealous of Cosmopolitan models. My attitude was was more of a “Yay, I can do this too!” kinda thing. Because all it took back then was the art of make-up and a good tease with a comb. Unlike today where women are brainwashed into thinking they need Botox, veneers, Japanese straight perms and plastic surgery to be acceptable. And then they still don’t think they look good enough.

Looking back, my favorite Helen Gurley Brown quotes include:

“Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.”

“Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody.”

“What you have to do is work with the raw material you have, namely you, and never let up.”

After Helen Gurley Brown’s book, “Sex and the Single Girl” was published in the 1960s, she was the editor-in-chief Cosmopolitan and stayed with the magazine until 1997, when she was replaced by Bonnie Fuller.

And it was during that time that I lost interest in the magazine. I was now in my 30s and living a very cool, edgy life, writing for a NYC newspaper, making my own social circles. I was no longer intrigued with the styles of models because I started creating my own.

Plus, when you read a magazine for over a decade, articles start to recycle. How many times can you read about how to please a man in bed? By the time you’re in your 30s, you should know.

With the dismiss of Brown’s reign, I turned to women’s magazines more suited to me, personally, like “Sassy” (later “Jane”), “Bust” and “Bitch.” These magazines were better for me because they embraced the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and were more anti-fashion than fashion. Since the young audience of these magazines were free-spirits they made their own art, not necessarily emulating models. Bad asses like Courtney Love and Drew Barrymore were on the covers. Models had braces and pink hair. And you could read articles about the Prozac Nation and young rockers you’d like to date.

While Gurley Brown was famous for being feminist, “Jane” “Bust” and “Bitch” were feminist-supreme. Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmopolitan paved the way to magazine greatness for the next generation!

And let’s not forget all the television shows she inspired! Shows about the modern, independent woman: “Sex in the City.” “Mary Tyler Moore”; and “That Girl” to name a few!

Mind you, I don’t agree with all of Gurley Brown’s philosophies, some of them being very depressing (like being as thin as possible without getting sick or getting breast implants at age 73 or her views on money). But I do think she contributed more than her share to society for being a cutting edge trend-setter and a person who stood up for what she believed in.

RIP Helen Gurley Brown –yet  another original bites the dust.