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All posts for the month April, 2015

My Favorite Girlfriend, Diane!

Published April 30, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_1779I love this chick! (Me, left; Diane, right)

On National Honesty Day, I’m thinking to myself, what better day than to praise a good friend — honestly, straight from the heart!

It’s really been way too long since I last wrote a tribute to Diane, so for a little background on how we met, etc., you can check out my blog from 2013: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/my-friend-diane/

When I count my blessings in life, Diane is one of the people right on the top of my list and here is why:

1. She really is a FRIEND. When I think of the one person I can count on, if I’m sad or upset and can’t sleep, I know, in my heart I can call Diane and she’ll get right on the phone. While other people might be secretly “happy” that a positive person like myself is upset (as it would give them an opportunity to one-up me, or pity me) Diane will give that comfort and sincerity like no other person can. When I’m in pain, she’ll feel it and offer compassion and common sense. Luckily it’s not too often I have to cry to a friend, but when I cry to Diane, I can do so freely, without shame or embarrassment. And I LOVE her for that!

2. Diane is joyful. Diane, like myself, is a joyful person. She’s so cute in that she gets excited over the little things in life (and the big things too!) We can be so silly together and at the same time serious and deep. She’s the most fun girlfriend to be around — she’s one in a million!

3. She likes my other friends. Anyone I introduce Diane too, she absolutely adores. I’ve had some friends be jealous of each other, but not Diane. She’s a little love bug and it’s so cool to know I can mix her with anyone and the result will be nothing but a good time.

4. She picked a great husband. This is a very important quality. It shows she has great judgement. Her husband Mike is a great guy and I feel equally comfortable around him as I do around her. Mike gets along great with my husband and we can all enjoy going out together.

5. We’re genuinely excited about each others lives. Diane is happily retired. I am happily self-employed. Diane is the one person I can share my life with who isn’t competitive with me and really happy for me when I succeed. It’s so comfortable having a person that you don’t have to downplay your happiness around. Where other people may be jealous, Diane is the one who is REALLY happy for you! As I am for her! Calling Diane and hearing the peace and calm in her voice makes me giddy like a little girl. I love hearing about her days gardening and the pickles she makes. That is just SO COOL! I’ve known Diane for a long time. She does a lot for others, so no one deserves peace and happiness like she does. My heart actually pumps a little harder when I’m around her — because I love her so much!

6. BEST OF ALL. It’s rare Diane and I have a fight, but when we do we talk it out like human beings and then it’s DONE. There is no tension, no little “digs” (like girls are so famous for giving), no avoiding … we just clear the air and move on. This is why we’ve been friends non-stop since 1994 — because we are HONEST with each other.

7. We both love God. Like myself, Diane is strong in her faith. We can speak freely about the wonders of what God does in our lives.

8. MUSIC. Diane and I can always talk music. I’ve seen more live music with Diane than any other girlfriend. From D-Generation in the 1990s to outdoor oldies shows, we’ve seen it all — together. From just us in the 1990s to sharing moments with our hubbies — we have some helluva soundtrack to accompany our friendship. Out of all our legendary music moments, one of my favorites was a night we were out having a good time and “Bohemian Rhapsody” came on the radio. This was around the time of “Wayne’s World” and we just went with it, singing along at the top of our lungs. You just can’t plan magical moments like that!

9. We’re just FUN GIRLS! Diane and I have done everything you can imagine, from dancing with transvestites at Don Hills to getting lost in NYC while the gas tank was on “E.” And no matter what kind of “trouble” we got into, we always laughed about it.

10. Diane is a cat person. I’ll never forget, when I was still single, I had to leave my grandmother’s old rent control apartment. It was so hard finding a new apartment that allowed pets. I finally found a place that allowed “one.” I had two cats. Diane was willing to take care of one for me. But thanks to my genius Mom, she said, “Just sneak the two in, Billy always hides anyway, no one will know.” She was right, no one was the wiser and I was able to keep both beautiful cats. (Billy died two years ago at the age of 19 and Derick is still alive, now also 19). I will never forget Diane’s kindness in wanting to help during a very trying time in my life. And then, when I moved from that apartment into my husband’s home, Diane was the person who had an extra cat carrier for me, so my babies had a safe 25 minute trip.

Diane, I love you more than you’ll ever know!

You are one of God’s greatest blessings in my life!

maryanne-and-dianeWe’re having a ball!

Does God Speak To Us Through the Chain of Coincidence?

Published April 29, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_5579Me and my Grandmother, 1994

Springtime is always magical and exciting. Your friends share about their new opportunities. Everyone is motivated to do something different. People feel alive, stay out later, start health/exercise programs. It’s a beautiful time of year.

It’s also a time for omens and messages and connecting the puzzle of life.

Originally I had planned on publishing my second book “Love Cats” the same time my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” was published — during the cycle of Aquarius. “Aquarius is my favorite sign because some of the nicest people are Aquarius. (My husband is Aquarius). I was thrilled that my first born book was Aquarius.

“Love Cats” was ready for publication a long time ago. It could have been an Aquarius, but wasn’t. I kept stalling and Aquarius passed us. So did Pieces and Aries. Now “Love Cats” is with the publisher and will definitely be a Taurus when it’s officially published in a few weeks!

How could that be? It didn’t make sense until I put together the Taurus Connection of “Love Cats” which you can read about here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/bizarre-taurus-magic-and-numerology/

And now the coincidences are getting more bizarre.

In addition to being an author, I am also a public speaker. I have a wide variety of topics I speak on in assisted living facilities, libraries, Jewish Community Centers, etc.

I’m often coming up with new ideas to keep me coming back to my favorite places, and to open doors to new places. I also love working with amazing people.

One of the coolest people I know, an Aquarius, named Carol Erickson, has become a good friend of mine over the years. She’s a beautiful songstress and her favorite performer is Ella Fitzgerald. I decided I wanted to work with Carol so I put together a series called “Learn and Listen” featuring the music of Ella Fitzgerald. (I also put together on featuring the music of Elvis Presley). The program entails a half hour bio on Ella, presented by myself, then a half hour of Ella’s music, sung by Carol.

Last night I started writing the Ella bio and was blown away by the number connection she had with my beloved Grandmother.

Check this out:

Ella was born in 1917. My Grandmother was born in 1918. My Grandmother died in 1995 of diabetes. She lost one leg. And had cataracts in both eyes. Ella died in 1996 of diabetes. She lost both legs. And had a cataract in one eye.

That’s where the Grandmother connections end, but then we go back to the Taurus connection — Ella Fitzgerald was a Taurus. And my first presentation of the Ella program with Carol will be on Monday, May 4, during the cycle of Taurus!

[And an interesting side note: Ella was born in Newport News, Viriginia. I had traveled there, alone, in the 1990s, two years after Ella died, to visit the Peta House, where I considered taking a job as an animal rights activist].

What does this all mean? I am not sure, but I am always open to interpretation. Today I have an exciting meeting that could change my life. Even if it doesn’t work out, the fact that I was considered for this meeting has my husband super duper high on the fact. He even told his brother about this meeting, he’s so proud of me!

Me, on the other hand, I am afraid to drive to the meeting, as it’s in the Pulaski Skyway area and I’m afraid of accidentally driving over the Skyway again. I was so nervous thinking about this, instead of going to bed last night when I was supposed to, I was sipping organic wine and researching about Ella Fitzgerald.

When I finally did go to sleep, I had a beautiful dream about my Grandmother. In the dream, I knew she was dead, but I was able to speak to her briefly. It was so surreal. And it made me realize that it’s not just about life after death — but life after life and life during life too.

I rarely dream about Grandma and I have to ask myself, is this an omen the meeting will be a success, or that just my drive there and back will be because she’s watching over me?

It could be her blessing for doing the Ella program. And to show that the tragedy of diabetes can happen to anyone, rich, poor or middle class.

When I read about Ella’s last day on earth, she just wanted to go outside in her wheelchair and be with her 12-year-old granddaughter. How significant, the dynamic of the love between Grandma and granddaughter.

We may not always know the answers, but with little signs God gives us through Astrology, numerology and coincidences, it shows many things that are pretty cool when we open our minds to interpretation. It’s His way of showing how our loved ones speak to us. Or how even God himself speaks to us — as He knows what is important to us and He gets us!

Ella Get HappyBeautiful Ella “Get Happy!”

Scars

Published April 28, 2015 by Maryanne

Touching Your Community.com

By Anne Harding

Being bullied during childhood may have even graver consequences for mental health in adulthood than being neglected or sexually abused, according to the first-ever study to tease out the effects of peer abuse from childhood maltreatment.

Children in the study who had been bullied by their peers, but didn’t suffer maltreatment from family members, were more likely to have depression and anxiety in adulthood than children who experienced child abuse but weren’t bullied, according to researchers from the United .States. and United Kingdom.

One in 3 children worldwide reports being bullied, Dieter Wolke, a professor of psychology at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, and his colleagues note in their report, published today (April 28) in the journal Lancet Psychology. Studies have shown that victims of bullying have impaired stress responses and high levels of inflammation, as well as worse health and less workplace success as…

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Recyclables Art Program for Children at Secaucus Library (And Animal Art too!)

Published April 27, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7160“The Recycling Home” created by a young library patron

SAM_7162Children sharing their artwork

(Photo of children used with permission from parents)

Today Lorraine Brown and I presented our children’s art program, “Make Art Out of Recyclables” at the Secaucus Library, Secaucus, New Jersey (http://secaucuslibrary.org/).

Using recycled paper and various materials, children made cards; some for Mother’s Day and some just used free expression.

We had a fabulous time and look forward to going back! Thanks so much to librarian, Cecilia Mucciolo for having us!

If you’d like to have us present “Make Art Out of Recyclables” at your library (or children’s birthday party), please email me at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

I’d also like to give a shout out to Richard Moglia, whose extraordinary art is currently featured at the Secaucus Library. Lorraine and I have a soft spot for animals, and we think it’s super duper cool that Richard Moglia donates work to help animal conservation!

I tried to find a website for Richard, but came up empty handed. But here’s a cool article I found on him: http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/26377981/article-Portrait-of-the-apes-Local-artist-is-an-advocate-for-vanishing-primates-?

Enjoy some of the photos I took of his work:

SAM_7166You know me, I love to monkey around!

SAM_7151Lorraine Brown, loves animals as much as I do!

SAM_7157Portrait of a rescued lab monkey 

According to the note accompanying the photo, she really did smile like this!

SAM_7154Orangutan

SAM_7156

Keep Rockin’ With Paleo Lifestyle

Published April 27, 2015 by Maryanne

Maryanne rock n' rollIn my 40s

SAM_6547December, 2014, age 51

I blogged many times about embracing the paleo lifestyle. I started last summer when I was starting to feel sluggish and attributed it to pre-menopause. I was also getting dizzy spells in the morning. After speaking to two holistic doctors, I figured I’d give paleo a go — after being vegetarian 28 years! My prayers went out to the animals and I consumed some grass-fed beef. Within days I felt better. No more dizzy spells, less night sweats, and what is really cool — no hair in the shower drain after washing. And this is the age most women start to have thinning hair. (As a side note, no gray hair either, but I think that’s because I put raw apple cider vinegar on my salads all my adult life. It’s not genetics, my mother was gray early on).

Paleo is so easy to follow. Just eat REAL FOOD.

I offer a “Paleo for Beginners” lecture for libraries and here’s an interview I recently did for the Observer to promote one of my lectures: ww.newjerseyhills.com/observer-tribune/news/caveman-diet-discussed-in-long-valley/article_225401a6-6fcd-5968-8968-355e730c439a.html?mode=story

Note, I’m not even 100 percent paleo anymore, as I do love to eat some bread from time to time. But mind you, eating bread is not a habit, it’s a treat. By eating 75 or 80 percent paleo, you can still benefit.

The thing is, if you’re doing it to lose weight, you may not. You’ll lose inches! Do not go by the scale, you’ll get frustrated. Go by how your clothes fit you. A paleo “126” is not the same as a Standard American Diet “126.” Muscle weighs more than fat. The scale is a good tool, but it’s not the end all. Use your tape measure and watch how your clothes fit. Over the summer I tested on one of those very advanced scales and it read that I had the metabolic rate of someone who is 28-years-old! But I still prefer to go by how my clothes fit.

I recently had a laundry accident where I ruined most of my winter clothes. When New Jersey had a few cold days, I went through a bunch of very old clothes I was going to donate and found a pair of size 5 pants. I hadn’t seen size 5 in ages,  but these fit again!

And in the above photos, you can see I’m wearing the same pair of velvet pants from Tripp clothing that I wore in my 40s and now can still wear in my 50s. (I actually got those pants when I was in my late 30s!)

I shared this news in a paleo community and another paleo chick said she was in her 40s and fit into pants she had in high school!

When I first started paleo, I found two photos online of a middle-aged woman. In both pictures she weighed 155. The first photo she was your average middle-aged women. The second photo she was still 155 pounds after being paleo for a year — but now she had a perfectly flat stomach, her arms were chiseled to perfection and not one ounce of fat on her! It was mind-blowing how her body shifted for the better!

And if you don’t “cheat” on paleo for several months, you may even notice your facial muscles getting tighter, therefore making you look even younger. And why wouldn’t you? You’re putting nothing but the best foods in your body.

The coolest thing, after I got the much needed vitamins from meat, I don’t eat meat as much as I did when I first became paleo. I’ll now have meat once or twice a month. Same with chicken. I occasionally consume healthy items that are not paleo like beans or quinoa. But for the most part, it’s paleo with pastured eggs and wild caught fish for protein. And lots and lots of vegetables! Slab on that Kerry Gold butter — it does your body good!

It’s Greek Coffee to Me!

Published April 26, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7150Oh, yeah!

Today I had my first Greek coffee ever. It was heavenly.

I love coffee, but I’m not a snob about it like I am with food. I’ll drink non-organic, Dunkin Donuts, espresso, etc. and mainly black when I’m out (and buttered at home, where I could blend it with my grass-fed butter and cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil).

But after drinking Greek coffee, I may be ruined for anything else. It’s so rich and thick and gives you an incredible jolt of energy.

I tried this delightful treat at It’s Greek to Me in Holmdel, New Jersey. It’s Greek to Me is a chain restaurant, but foodies, do not let that discourage you. I’ve been a fan of this chain a few years now and the food is always super fresh. I had a small Greek salad and let me ask you, when does a foodie rave about romaine lettuce? When it tastes like it was just picked from the garden. When it’s so fresh that you just might confuse it with another type of green. I was so perplexed I asked the waiter, “What kind of lettuce is this?” I expected an exotic answer, but no, it was just romaine.

It’s Greek to Me has nine New Jersey locations. Until today, I’ve only been to the one in Clifton, but now I like this one so much better. As much as I always raved about how good the food was in Clifton … Holmdel has Clifton beat. The pita bread just melts in your mouth. Plus, the Holmdel eatery is more spacious.

Here’s a link to the It’s Greek to Me chain: http://itsgreektome.com/

The menu has a little something for everyone, including gluten free desserts (but I’d call the restaurant first to make sure, as I only saw the gluten free dessert on the Holmdel restaurant, not the Clifton one).

Other things I’ve tried in the past were the grilled octopus salad, the fresh beets, the Greek Fries (which are spiced to perfection with oregano and fresh lemon), grilled vegetables and baklava (a rich pastry with filo dough, walnuts and honey).

And let me add, this is one of the few restaurants in New Jersey that I went to more than once and ALWAYS got great service!

If you’re anti-chain restaurants, give this one a chance and you’ll definitely change your mind.

Entitlement

Published April 26, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_0922

I’m HAPPY!

(Deal with it!)

One of my biggest complaints in life, as those who follow my blog know, is when people begrudge others for being happy.

It’s just not fair when you’re doing what you want, in life, and others have steam coming out of their noses because of it. Oh yeah, that green-eyed monster rears its ugly head.

We all know our strengths and weaknesses and my biggest strength is that I’m a good person and a great friend. Morrissey has a song called “We Hate it When Our Friends Become Successful.” Not me! I’ll be the one who cheers you on! Do you have great news? Give me a call! I’ll support you.

I’ve had people call to tell me they knew I’d be happy for them when their own family (or spouse) wouldn’t get it. People just can’t wait to share their good news with me, because I am genuine in being happy right along with them.

So, why is it wrong that I’m doing what I want?

Can’t you be happy for me too?

Sound familiar? It did to my husband when he was listening to the lyrics of “Entitlement” by Jack White.

My husband said, “You have to listen to this! Jack White wrote a song that you could have written! You can write a blog about this!”

I listened to it … and, yeah, sad but true, that’s how neglected I sometimes feel when it comes to other people. I’m so tired of people who are competitive and always trying to “one-up” me. I’m so tired of being quiet and downplaying my accomplishments around certain people because their jealousy is so apparent.

If you can’t be happy for me, like I am for YOU, you best believe I’ll be avoiding you as much as possible.

There is no shame in the fact that I’m happily married, that I love my work and never want to retire, that I live each day to the fullest, and that at 51, I am still confident, attractive and in shape.

I got all I ever wanted. And I am entitled.

The other half of it, is how many people feel “entitled” in a negative sense. Those who feel the world owes them something. Kids who want jobs, but don’t want to work … spending all the company’s time while they are on cell phones, texting.

A few days ago, I wrote about parents coddling their children as if they could do no wrong. These kids grow up believing they are always right and have hissy fits when they are corrected. I know, because as far back as seven years ago, when I was still in the work force, editors didn’t dare tell the young-uns who just got out of college their mistakes. They couldn’t handle the critique like the more seasoned writers could. You had to walk on eggshells. And this is the direction the world is heading towards: bowing down to the entitled.

Jack White’s song, clarified that.

Even in his superstar status — where he sits — he sees this new family way that we, as civilians, are enduring day-by-day.

It’s the way of the world, how some parents are giving the “tools of life” to their kids by entitlement — and not hard work.