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All posts for the month January, 2016

Stinky Smokers

Published January 24, 2016 by Maryanne

Stinky smokingSmoking = a stinky, nasty habit

Last weekend my husband and I went away for a few days. Once again we were upgraded to a suite in the hotel because we weren’t even there one second when I noticed that the patrons before us were smoking. Mind you, it was a supposed to be a non-smoking hotel. But what really got me is that it was also a no-pet hotel. We could have easily been sneaky and brought our cat in and no one would have been the wiser. Yeah, some pet owners don’t clean up after their animals and they could be destructive, but for the most part, pet owners are clean people and control their pets. You can’t say the same about smokers. The nicotine fit kicks in and the cigarettes are whipped out faster than a greased rat’s ass. Smokers have zero control over this nasty habit and leave their disgusting butts all over the place.

What makes someone smoke is beyond me. Cigarettes smell and leave a stench that lasts for eternity. When I was a little girl, my grandmother would have several cigarettes lit at one time. I’d go around, ashtray to ashtray and put them all out. She’d get mad at me, but that never stopped me from doing it again. And again and again. Later on in life, cigarette smoking attributed to her diabetes complications and Grandma had her leg amputated. There are television commercials that illustrate this, yet people continue to smoke like chimneys. Some women use smoking as a weight loss tool, with no regard for what could happen to them down the line. Just another sad illustration of how we live in a world where people are ruled by selfish instant gratification.

As a young girl, I once asked a male friend what is the biggest turn off. Without hesitation, he said, “A woman who smokes. That is not sexy.”

I have to agree with him. All the years of seeing so many of my favorite actors or rock stars with a cigarette dangling from their mouth, I felt incredibly disappointed. A pretty boy can turn real ugly with one of those dreadful things coming out of his lips. Ew.

But aside from the stench, aside from the fact that it’s totally disgusting, and aside from the fact that smoking is a health crisis, what bothers me most about smokers is, as I said above, how inconsiderate they are. When I was still single and living in an apartment complex, the couple below me smoked like chimneys. They had a bucket near their door filled with sand and cigarette butts. Just looking at that turned my stomach. Once they moved in, I could no longer sit outside on the back porch. The smell made me gag. When I complained to the supervisor, those tools retaliated and said that I made too much noise. Note, I was in that apartment from 1991 to 2005 and none of the other couples below me complained. But try to come between a smoker and his/her cigarettes and it’s like trying to pry food out of a Pitbull’s mouth … it just ain’t happening.

And I don’t know what’s worse: the blatant in-your-face smokers who shamelessly light up with no regard to who they are annoying. Or the sneaky ones who lie about it. The episodes of “Sex and the City” where Aidan wanted Carrie to quit smoking was so on the money. I worked with women who were engaged and lied to their fiances about smoking.

One day years before I became self-employed, I was working for a publishing company in Hoboken. Hoboken, New Jersey was a great place to work in the late 1990s. There were health food stores, indie bookstores, and indie record shops before corporate Hipsterville took over and homogenized it. But, yeah, back in the day, I’d freely roam the streets and even though Hoboken is like a little Manhattan, you could easily jaywalk from side to side. That’s exactly what I did if a smoker was approaching me. I’d simply cross to the other side of the street so I didn’t have to smell his/her stench.

Anyway, I worked with one of those lying smokers. I’ll never forget, it was either spring or fall — one of those seasons where you either need a jacket, or you don’t. I made the mistake of asking a smoker, “When you went out for your cigarette, how was the weather?”

She didn’t hear the “how was the weather?” part — only the part about “cigarette.” The woman went into a ballistic rage about how she DOESN’T SMOKE! She was yelling at me, embarrassing herself, for at least seven minutes straight. Then she didn’t talk to me anymore after that.

Did I deserve that? Not at all. Yet other smokers defended her and said I should have asked her about the weather without saying, “when you went out for your cigarette.” That is the smoking mentality … people who smoke make no sense. It’s okay that their smoking offends everyone, but not okay if someone speaks up about it.

Isn’t it my right to live in a world with clean, fresh air? Why do I have to suffer for your nasty, stinky habit that you obviously have no control over? Why is it okay for smokers to brazenly light up in a hotel room (and get away with it) when a pet owner would never dare bring a pet into a hotel that says “no pets”?

After three days, when my husband and I came home and opened the door to our house, it smelled SO GOOD. Was it because even after a hotel upgrade, I still had smoke on the brain? Maybe. Once that smell gets up your nose (and into your lungs) it’s a helluva gross thing to forget.

I took a great big whiff of our non-smoking house and then picked up my cat and gave him a big hug, taking in a big whiff of his natural, beautiful kitty smell! If I have to be addicted to something, I’m so glad it’s my cat! ❤

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Published January 23, 2016 by Maryanne

Grass always greenerThe Grass is Always Greener on My Side

When I drew the above photo 10 years ago, it wasn’t meant to be cocky, it was meant to illustrate that it’s best to appreciate all you have in life. And, God knows I do.

Appreciate what you have and be supportive of the successes of others too. That is why we are on earth. God wants us to have good things in life, so live it to the fullest.

Like many people, I’ve had a rough start, only to excel in my 40s and 50s. I’ve been bullied relentlessly as a child and a teen. My heart was broken when my grandmother, who raised me, developed diabetes and died way too young. Then I had a series of health scares, when doctors said it could have been cancer (it wasn’t!) and I was in and out of hospitals for tests from 2003 to 2005. And not to mention all the fake friends, failed romances, and bad career moves (and of course jealousy along the way; it’s never really the job, it’s always the people, right?)

While life may never be 100 percent perfect (though sometimes it is for a short time), I’m thrilled to say, as a late bloomer, I became self employed in my 40s, married the love of my life, raised two beautiful cats, and am healthy!

To get to this point is a lot of work, I will not lie. However, once you are there, it’s pretty easy to have life fall into place, or get back into place when you get off track. It’s incredible and magical. Who wouldn’t want to be so happy, right?

One of the biggest tragedies in a woman’s life is when people are jealous of her. Jealousy is an ugly disease. Even if you’re an atheist or a satanist, you can’t deny that God’s words “Thou shalt not covet” is damn good advice. It just makes life so free and easy when you live out of love and not envy.

It rips my soul apart when people insinuate that I only have good health because it’s genes and that I didn’t work hard for it. That is so catty and so untrue. Even when I shared with people that my grandmother died of diabetes; and that my mother has heart disease, I didn’t get much compassion. And it hurt.

People have also been resentful that I love my career. They focus only on what they don’t have instead of what they COULD have! Now listen … when I was 18, my first job was for Scribner Book Company as a shipping clerk. I loved that job and would have stayed there for the rest of my life, had they not merged with another company. Over the years, jobs came and went and I always loved to work. But many of us know, work places are full of catty women (and men too!) By the age of 45, I couldn’t take any more office politics, gossip, and stress.

Before you resent someone for starting their own business (and succeeding) ask yourself … do you know what it’s like to leave your desk several times a day, crying in the bathroom because of a company that has poor management and hasn’t trained you to do your job properly; or because of women saying nasty things to you? Stress in the workplace is the most horrible thing ever. If you have an abusive boyfriend, you can leave him without a setback — you are free! But people need to work! And stress can kill you. When you’re at the age where you can be prone to stress related diseases such as shingles — is job aggravation really worth it?

THAT mindset is what pushed me to start my own business. I took all those lemons as a voice from the universe that I am not a team player and need to work for myself. And, yes, I am proud of how far I’ve come. So, please do not covet me for my successes in life. I deserve all the happiness I have. I embrace life and have a helluva lot of fun. People who resent others for what they have should really be ashamed of themselves.

When someone is as positive as I am, that’s the kind of person you should want on YOUR side. Pissing someone like me off, is not in your favor. Happy people live to make other people happy — that’s what we do best. But it has to be a group effort. I can’t flog a dead horse if someone wants to remain in the same place, day after day, year after year. You can only grow if you are willing to take the chance and break out from Point A to Point B. And you don’t get there by giving others people the evil eye if they have what you don’t. You get there by embracing other people and praising them for their hard work. Instead of gossiping, try to say, “Wow, I’d like to be like her/him!”

If you want to be in a happy relationship, hang out with others in happy relationships and someday that will be you. If you want a career, hang out with others who have good careers and your turn will come. There is no need to covet — ever!

If someone can be a friend to me, I’ll be a friend double/triple to them. I’m the one who is always giving compliments, looking on the bright side, helping others with their problems, dropping everything if someone calls for advice. I’m the first to acknowledge the success of others. The first to congratulate someone on their engagement. The one who thinks about people’s kids. And the friend who will always answer emails.

So next time you want to hate someone because you THINK they have more than you do, please DON’T. You do not know a person’s  story and how hard their lives were (or are). Happy people get there from hard work — it doesn’t happen overnight. Your negativity may hurt someone, but it will also inspire them to write a blog (such as this) which will inspire others in years to come. How do I know this? Because some of my most inspiring blogs, written over three years ago, are still getting the highest stats.

Happiness is a choice — one I’ll always chose! (As I type with a pretty cat sitting on my lap!)

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

 

Aubrey Organics Raspberry Honey Shaving Cream

Published January 20, 2016 by Maryanne

Aubrey Raspberry HoneyNew product from Aubrey Organics

I’ve been using cruelty free products since 1996 and was excited to try Aubrey Organics Raspberry Honey shaving cream.

I was a lucky winner via their Facebook page.

This shaving cream smells absolutely delicious and it makes my legs feel so soft and smooth, even in the dead of a New Jersey winter! I never realized shaving your legs could be so much fun! ❤

For more information on their fine products, please visit: http://www.aubrey-organics.com/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

Missing Grandma As I Mourn the Death of Bowie

Published January 16, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_5579Me with Grandma, 1994

Monday started off with the biggest dark cloud ever when we learned of the death of David Bowie. Something so traumatic always brings me back to the most important person I ever lost — my grandmother. She would have understood the pain of the loss, that all of us are feeling. Yes, ALL of us.
That’s why grandmothers are much more special than grandfathers will ever be. It’s just that old, yin energy that makes an old or old(er) woman so incredibly special.  Grandmothers know how to comfort. She was there for me when Freddie Mercury died. She was a good listener. A skill so many lack.
She listened to me. And she would have listened to YOU too! So many of my friends always remind me of sharing a late night cup of coffee with Grandma.
We were so blessed not only to be living during a time when David Bowie could be our muse, but more so that the world knew greatness and made him famous so everyone (those with good taste) could learn of his art.
My grandmother wasn’t famous, but that funeral home was jam-packed when she died. And I am so lucky I was one of God’s chosen people to be blood-related to her. The night before David Bowie died, Grandma came to me in a dream and said, “Hold me.” I was freaking out wondering what that dream meant, until I realized she wanted to comfort me over the loss of David Bowie.
❤ Missing you more than ever, Grandma. And thank you! ❤

Easy Homemade Miso Soup

Published January 12, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9494Homemade Miso Soup (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Miso soup is one of the healthiest dishes and this is the first time I ever made it. I can’t believe how great it came out. My husband loved it too. We both cleaned our dishes.

Here is the very easy recipe:

Ingredients

1 tablespoon dried wakame (I love Eden brand!)

2 scallions, sliced thin

4 ounces of firm tofu, cubed

3 tablespoons white miso

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions

Soak wakame in cold water for five minutes (it will expand) and then drain.

Boil four cups of water in saucepan.

Add scallions and cook for two minutes

Add tofu and turn off heat.

Take some of the broth aside and mix with miso until smooth, then add to the saucepan, along with the wakame. Stir in sesame oil.

Healthy and delicious!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the former editor of NJ Health & Fitness and the column “Here’s to Your Health.” She presents lectures on healthy food choices at libraries and assisted living facilities. For rates and availability, contact Maryanne at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Rest in Peace to The Prettiest Star, David Bowie

Published January 11, 2016 by Maryanne

David Bowie - Mick RockDavid Bowie photograph by Mick Rock

My Monday started off beautifully. Really cool comments and emails from great people. Then I found out that falsely accused Coyote Shivers was finally out of jail! And more than thrilled that the magazine I’ve been acting as managing editor for during the past few months is closing this week and our first issue will be out February!

Then I heard the news. It was mentioned in a Mick Karn tribute group that David Bowie was dead at the age of 69. My heart dropped and I had no energy to read anything other than to find out what happened … cancer.

How could this be? The news was kept secret from the press. He just put out a new album. And just a few days ago it was his 69th birthday. My husband and I celebrated by watching the Ziggy Stardust concert.

My husband heard me crying, as my office is next to our bedroom. “David Bowie died,” I said as I cried in his arms. As I am sure many are crying today. David Bowie was an icon to most of us, in our youth. When I was first aware of him, I was probably around 12, reading Creem and Circus magazines. I started buying his records. My all time favorite was “Low” produced by Brian Eno.

In 1984 I saw David Bowie’s Serious Moonlight Tour, 10th row center at Madison Square Garden. It was the first time I spent a crazy amount of money on a ticket. I even got one of the moon balloons, as the show ended with hundreds of them flying over Madison Square Garden.

Around that same time I saw Iggy Pop perform at The Ritz. I don’t remember if it was before or after the show, but I was walking to the upstairs bar and heard a loud voice, “EVERYBODY MOVE TO THE RIGHT!”

I was scared. I thought someone was hurt. But the voice came from a bodyguard who was accompanying David Bowie down the stairs. The legend walked right past me and I was close enough to see his two different sized pupils in his eyes.

In 1987 I saw David Bowie perform again; the Glass Spider Tour, this time in what was once called Giant’s Stadium in New Jersey.

I had tickets to see David Bowie in 1998, at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC, but he had laryngitis and canceled the show. I didn’t know until I got there, so I took a cab ride downtown to see Shane McGowan perform instead.

I loved Bowie’s movies too, “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “The Hunger,” and “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” were my favorites.

Almost everyone I know has a story about meeting David Bowie. All the stories are either heartfelt or ridiculously funny. I never met him, but he seemed to be an incredibly kind man with a great sense of humor.

One year prior to her death, I interviewed Cyrinda Foxe, who dated David Bowie while he was with his first wife, Angie. She was in his Jean Genie video. And he was very supportive of her when she had brain cancer, telling her she had to have a “good wig” and making her laugh. Cyrinda spoke to me about Bowie in this interview: http://www.punkmagazine.com/stuff/morestuff/cyrinda_foxe.html

My heart goes out to every Bowie fan out there … this is a very tough day in the music world, indeed.

SAM_9492My moon balloon from David Bowie’s “Serious Moonlight Tour”

 Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Frank Secich at The Record Collector, Bordentown, New Jersey

Published January 9, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9476Frank Secich (photo by Maryanne Mistretta)

Today was a dream come true meeting musician/songwriter/producer/author, Frank Secich. I’ve been a fan of his music since I was a teenager. He played (and wrote songs) on one of my favorite teenage albums, “Disconnected” by Stiv Bators. Frank also played in Club Wow, Blue Ash, The Deadbeat Poets, The Infidels and more.

A few years ago we met on FaceBook and Frank was kind enough to endorse my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X).

And, I became a fan of his newest band, The Deadbeat Poets.

I also interviewed Frank for this blog: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/interview-with-frank-secich-musiciansongwriterproducer/

So you can just imagine how super excited to learn that Frank Secich was going to be at The Record Collector in Bordentown promoting his new book “Circumstantial Evidence” (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/circumstantial-evidence-frank-secich/1122604553)

As soon as I walked in the store, I was greeted with a great big, “Maryanne!” by Frank! He’s so cool and down-to-earth. I also met his son, Jake, who was very kind to take our photograph, and other great people. The vibe was awesome as fans and friends listened to Frank share stories about Stiv Bators and a cool story about Michael Monroe (of Hanoi Rocks who recorded Frank’s song “A Million Miles Away” – please do not confuse with The Plimsouls song, both songs are fab, but I do like Frank’s better *wink*). Frank also spoke of the stories behind his songs. These humorous adventures are included in the book “Circumstantial Evidence.”

Frank played, acoustic, “A Million Miles Away,” “It’s Cold Outside,” “Circumstantial Evidence” and some songs by Deadbeat Poets.

As I’m writing this blog, I have the “Circumstantial Evidence” book in my hands, waiting to be read!

SAM_9471Frank Secich and Maryanne Mistretta (Photo by Jake Secich)