Today’s Bloganuary prompt asks “What Chore Do You Find Most Challenging?”
When I hear “chore” I think about house cleaning. I suppose a chore could be anything, but let’s talk about house cleaning. I’m slightly ashamed to admit, I am spoiled. I was raised by my grandmother and she did everything for me. When I moved out on my own, the first thing I learned to do was wash clothes, because I felt clean clothes were important. However, there were many chores I actually liked — washing dishes, sorting things out (like paperwork, magazines, clothing, etc.) and putting things away.
And, believe it or not, I don’t mind cleaning toilets!! Maybe I’m not so spoiled after all?
What I don’t like is cleaning floors. In fact, when I lived by myself, I hired help to do that. So, maybe I am spoiled?
I also hate vacuuming. My husband does that. Yeah, I’m spoiled.
But I LOVE cooking and serving. Again, maybe I’m not so spoiled after all?
And worse of all, home repairs! Even though hire someone to do it, you have these strange people coming in your home, sometimes saying dumb, annoying things (thinking they are funny), and having the house in an upset until everything is finished. If dealing with all that isn’t a “chore” I don’t know what is?
The point of this blog is, there will always be things we don’t love to do, and if we don’t love doing them, we shouldn’t have to. When I think of the chores I love or don’t mind, I believe it’s because of HOW I do them. I’ll listen to music, I’ll be in my head letting my imagination run wild, or I’ll be thinking of a health benefit to doing a particular chore.
Chores are like art. You will go through a period where it’s just downright ugly. But once it’s finished, you can look back at your masterpiece. Fresh, crisp laundry. A sparkling floor. A toilet so clean it looks brand new!
If you think of chores as art, you may feel like you are spoiled too! Embrace each day, each moment can be so much fun!
Why are we put on this planet? To make the leave the world in a better place than when we found it. There are so many ways to do this, by being a great wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend, by excelling at our careers and then giving back to the community, volunteering, writing a book, etc. …. All of this CAN be done. But in order to do so, we have to put ourselves first.
In order to do this, we have to know what we want and not settle for less. Sometimes we don’t know what we want, so we have to ferret out what we don’t want.
I can honestly say I live a successful life because I have more happy days than sad ones. I work for myself as a public speaker and writer/editor. I also cat sit, model, and am a non-union actress. I’ve created this beautiful bubble of a life where I prefer to be around creative like-minds and avoid gossipers and trouble makers.
Best of all, as I write almost every day, I married my soul mate. My husband is my best friend and biggest supporter.
When you have a foundation such as this, you can get through the sad times (the saddest times are ALWAYS death – whether it’s a good friend or a family member or a pet, this happens more often when you’re over 40).
Life can be hard at times. Look at 2020, we were all in the same boat with the pandemic. People lost jobs (I lost about 15 speaking engagements!). People got sick. And some even lost friends. (I lost three; only one to Covid, but two for other illness, including someone I could consider one of my best friends). But during the pandemic, I also grew. I didn’t write another book like I thought I would, but I had quite a few writing and editing clients. I also was able to collaborate with my husband and record a song together. (Those singing lessons paid off, but I am so NOT a singer! This was work, and I haven’t recorded a song with him since!)
So, you see, we all have our crosses to bear, but if you have that foundation of things that are solid in your life (for me, it’s my husband and my career), you won’t be as shaken during a bad time. But most of all, the success has to come from within — what is in your heart, and even your brain! You are the creator of your success, your happiness. Nothing is stopping YOU!
I can’t say it enough — the most memorable gift I received was from God and The Universe. My husband!
We knew each other forever. I used to follow his band when I was a teenager, but we hardly said more than “hello” to each other. I always thought he was good looking, but I was shy and it seemed we were always involved with other people. Then in 2005, the band had a reunion. That is when I had my moment to talk a bit more with Dennis. I was crushing very hard. A few weeks later he called me and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
Now, over 17 years later, we’re still madly in love. He’s really my best friend. We connect on all levels, spiritually, mentally, physically, and intellectually. We both share a love for the most important things in life, animals (mainly cats) and music. We are never bored with each other and can talk — and laugh — for hours. Each morning we both wake up with smiles on our faces, ready to start another day. If we’re apart, we connect via emails throughout the day.
I’m so genuinely happy we are together. I can’t imagine life without him, or with anyone else. It’s truly a blessing to be with your heart and soul mate. I wish this for everyone. The key is, don’t settle!
(I offer one-to-one ZOOM classes on How to Meet Your Soul Mate, if anyone is interested, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org … I’ve hosted them during the pandemic and will be starting up again. Rates are very reasonable).
Why do you write? Perhaps I can say “for the money” because I’m blessed that this is what I do for a living. That photo above is my latest book, which can be found in Barnes & Noble bookstores, and also the first book I wrote where I received an advance check! Coincidentally, today a check is going in the mail from another book publisher — as I just signed a contract to write my sixth book which will be about the Jersey Shore!
However, it didn’t start out that way. I was a very late bloomer. No, I didn’t write for the school newspaper. As a teen, I was a lost soul who didn’t know what I wanted in life. I just wanted to be left alone and not bullied. I somehow knew better days were coming. The month I graduated was the happiest day of my life. My younger sister Kim said something genius to me, “Now you should want the time to go really slow.” I had everything to live for because the bullies were GONE!
I didn’t go to college and began working right away. I came from a single-parent household and had to pay “room and board” to live at home. I had a temp job, then I worked as a shipping clerk at Scribner Book Company. I was around books and often had the opportunity to bring freebies home and read. I was always a reader and loved going to the library with my mom as a kid.
Back then, the drinking age was 18. Since I loved music, I went to see bands in New York City every single night and come home around 5 a.m. because life began after midnight back in the early 1980s. The next day I’d sleep in my car during my lunch break.
I had become friends with a young girl named Lisa James (RIP) — who later became TJ Ellis after transitioning to male, and we kept in touch until TJ’s death a few years ago. Out of respect, I will call “Lisa” by their name TJ. … TJ had this really cool fanzine (a self-published fan magazine) called Punk, Junk, and Pasttimes. She made me her assistant editor and I helped her write articles and conduct interviews. We had some very wild times with NYC punk musicians, which I’ll share another time. But this is what gave me the writing bug.
All this was before the internet and if you wanted to get published, you’d have to type stories on a typewriter. I didn’t get my first home computer until the 1990s. I took at home writing courses from Writer’s Digest and The Children’s Institute of Literature. Back then, I was hesitant about my talents and only submitted a few stories and received a few rejection slips. In the meantime, I wrote poetry, which was easy. I read my poetry in coffee houses, art galleries, and bars. And it was very well received. I even had a write up in the Star Ledger, which is a very popular New Jersey newspaper.
My big break came in 1995. I was hired as assistant to the publisher for Outlaw Biker Enterprises. They published magazines like Outlaw Biker, Tattoo Review, Skin Art, Art Alternatives, and In the Flesh. In the very beginning I sold ads for the magazines. I excelled and even got bonuses. But I did not want to be a sales person, I wanted to write. I became friends with the editor and by that summer, I had my first article published — worldwide!! These magazines were extremely popular with young people in the tattoo community all over the planet!
From then, I went on to write for a series of newspapers and magazines in NYC. It was like being a celebrity. I was able to get on the guest list for all theatre, free meals at restaurants, and live music. Sometimes I’d work until the wee hours of the night and get to go home in a town car! What a life!
After 9/11 I didn’t want to work in NYC anymore, and I scored a job at a local newspaper for seven years. Again, the perks were incredible. Plus this time I even got free yoga classes! I also became an award-winning journalist, exposing the Montclair police force for writing more tickets for parking violations versus moving violations.
Seven years later, I decided to work for myself and created my company Pear Tree Enterprises (the link is below) during the summer of 2008. I’ve helped countless writers edit their books and get them published. From 2013 to 2019 I wrote five books. One of those five books, “Love Cats” is in it’s second printing under my pen name Kyrstianna Mercury.
In addition to book writing, I continue working as an editor, journalist, and proofreader. (Along with public/motivational speaking, non-union acting, cat sitting, and sometimes over 50 modeling!)
I absolutely love my career as a writer and feel blessed to make a living doing so. Writing isn’t something you decide to do — writing chooses YOU. If you find yourself unhappy at your day job, not getting along with people because they are not as deep as you are, or not being able to go ONE DAY without writing, even if it’s just in your journal, this may be your calling!
And do not think, for one minute, that writers can’t make money. Yes, it’s not the same as it was decades ago, but YOU CAN make a lot of money as a writer, with a very healthy, comfortable salary. Just keep shooting those arrows. Perhaps start part-time then elevate to a career!
I wish all writers the best of luck! I am available for ZOOM coaching, as I’ve coached other writers. Email me for rates and to set up a consult: email@example.com …. I am a real person and less expensive than many writing scams you see out there!
I’m a silly person with a lust for life. Every minute counts and I love and embrace all of it. Every waking moment.
A typical day would be getting up early with my husband. Having some coffee together, playing with our kitties, and perhaps a slow dance to start our day. I’m so blessed to wake up every day to a handsome man who is my true soul mate and best friend. He’s never in a bad mood.
Since I’m a writer and public speaker, every day is different. Sometimes I’m also cat sitting or acting (I’m a non-union actress) or modeling or ghost writing. Variety is the spice of life in both work and play.
On the weekends (and sometimes during the week too) my husband and I enjoy going to vegan restaurants, long drives, or concerts — anything really. When we’re together, we always get into deep conversations or laugh so hard that tears are rolling down my face.
A few days ago I wrote about my grandmother and her lust for life. I take right after her and am looking forward to living a very long happy life, with continuous joy in each day!
Grandma, looking like a movie star in Florida, back in the day!
I honestly didn’t like being a child and my honest earliest memory involved a nightmare about going down a stairway to hell. We had a parakeet that I was afraid of, and the stairway in the dream was lined with birdseed. Tragic!
But a more positive memory was about my Grandmother. She was the most adorable, sweetest lady and I always wanted to be with her. I remember my mother saying that she was going to sew me and my grandmother together. I spent many summers with her in Florida as a child, and as I grew older she became my rock. She was the one who believed in me as a writer and knew I was going to “make it.” She was right.
My grandmother died in 1995. I took it so bad, it took years to get over. I was only 31 at the time, so the experience made my 30s a wild rollercoaster. While I became very successful in my writing career, I was still a lost soul.
When I began dating my husband in 2005, I felt like I got my grandmother back in a way. He loved me as unconditionally as she did. He also had her old school Italian sense of wit — dry and sarcastic. He took my grandmother’s place as my rock.
Not one day goes by that I don’t think of Grandma. How fun she was. Up to her 70s, she went on rollercoasters. She was always up for a great time and got along with everyone. She just had that way about her that brightened up a room, yet she had a tough side too. She smoked too much and hated my hamsters. And that goes to show even the most perfect, coolest people have a dark side that should be forgiven.
Brave is easy for me. The challenge would be doing things that aren’t “brave.” I couldn’t live with myself if I was stagnant. If I played it “safe.”
I’ve always been an independent woman. Before I met my husband (later in life), I lived by myself 15 years. During that time, I supported myself fully. Yet I quit jobs without having another lined up. This is brave and it’s not something people do, especially if they aren’t married.
There was a time, not to long ago, when I wasn’t brave. Prior to the 9/11 tragedy, I worked in New York City as a writer. I wanted to start my own business and took a class on legal proofreading. I was supposed to have my first assignment, and interesting, the receptionist messed up and the woman I was to interview with thought I didn’t show, so I missed out on a long-term assignment. That was a Friday. The next Tuesday, the towers were hit. I realized it was a blessing in disguise not to get that assignment. Even though it wasn’t in the twin towers, imagine being in New York City on that day?
Moving forward, I took a job in New Jersey as an editorial assistant at a local newspaper. It was a $20K pay cut from what I was used to making, but I liked the job and ending working there from 2001 to 2008. The last few years I was there, it was rough. The editor was a diabetic and had massive mood swings. One day he yelled at me for 45 minutes straight because I failed to get an obituary in the paper. In my defensive, the funeral director knew our paper was closing and he didn’t get back to me in time.
The next day I gave a month notice. I couldn’t do it though and ended up quitting within two weeks — without another job lined up. I stayed in bed four days straight. By now I was living with my boyfriend (who became my husband). That summer I took a job at a health food store. It was fun, but I realized I wasn’t a “people person.” I needed to be my own boss, and with my 401Ks, I began my home-based business, “Pear Tree Enterprises.” I took all my talents and created a sweet life for myself — journalism, book editing, and promoting. As time went on, my business changed, of course. I realized I didn’t like promoting/marketing, but there were other things I loved. Now I can add to the list non-union actress, over 50 modeling, public speaking, and cat sitting (I became a certified feline behaviorist during the pandemic!) In 2013, at the age of 50, I wrote my first book. Now I have several books and two of them are in Barnes & Noble.
This is when I realized just how brave I really am. It takes a brave person to become self employed and write their own books. “Friends” get jealous and leave you (after they write you nasty emails about how “narcissistic” you are), there are “dry” periods when you may not get royalty checks or work, people either think you’re loaded and are often asking you for money, or they look down on you and think you sit around all day eating bon bons. OR, worse of all, they assume the only reason you can have your own business is because you have a husband to fall back on. That part is true, and people shouldn’t begrudge me for having a great man. I have a great man because I never settled for a lesser one. We adore each other and it’s a blessing!
And that’s another reason why I am brave, I don’t settle — for men, or for friends or for clients. I live my life honestly and that’s something that’s hard for a lot of people.
Truly being brave means taking a lot of chances and being true to yourself. People may feel threatened, but the ones who understand are the ones you can share a beautiful life with.
Billie Eilish performance at The Prudential Center in New Jersey (Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)
The year of 2022 should be called The Year of Concerts. My husband and I attended many outdoor concerts during the pandemic, but it was great going to live shows indoors again! We started off with The Glimmer Twins on New Year’s Eve; and then saw Billie Eilish in February. Many more were to follow throughout the year: Johnny Mathis, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Jonathan Richman, Sophie B. Hawkins, Paula, Cole, Patti Smith, The Smithereens, Todd Rundgren, and The Bongos … to name a few!
My husband and I also saw the play performance of “The Wedding Singer,” which was a hoot.
Creatively, I participated in Bloganuary (spelling?) for the very first time! I didn’t write all days, but I wrote many. It generated some interest in this organic blog, which I write for my own benefit — not to jack up followers or make money. This is strictly for ME and if anyone likes what they read, that is cool.
In March, I was a guest speaker for Leading by Mission. My topic was “It’s All About Your Stories.”
That same month, “Bad Vegan” debuted. It was a documentary about the downfall of Sarma Melngailis, former owner of Pure Food & Wine. I was a huge fan of that restaurant and was honored to dine there many times. To this day, Pure Food & Wine remains my favorite restaurant of all time; and I am fully in support of Sarma Melngailis and always wish the best to her and her dog, Leon.
In May we lost the legendary Howie Pyro. Not only was he a fantastic musician and deejay, he was a very kind person. I first met him backstage at a Redd Kross concert in the early 1990s. A few years later, a friend told me about this “great band” called D-Generation. Howie Pyro was the bassist and I was hooked on their music. I saw them perform so many times and also ran into Howie many times over the years. He always had the time to chat. He is so missed.
(New Jersey sunset photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)
June 2022 was the beginning of the Summer of 90 sunsets. It hardly rained and almost every night you could see a most gorgeous sunset. Fun and games continued and my husband and I saw The Glimmer Twins perform for the second time in the year.
Lots of summer fun and many date nights with my husband–concerts, going out to dinner, movies.
August started out horrible. My husband found a mauled bunny near our home and all animal rehabs in our area were filled to capacity! We drove over an hour to a beautiful rehab with wondrous grounds. I had high hopes that the bunny would survive and thrive. Sadly, the bunny didn’t make it. RIP, sweet little angel. We tried.
On, August 19, I celebrated my 59th birthday. I am extremely proud of my age, my accomplishments, and all the fun I’ve squeezed into my lifetime. I am fortunate and look forward to being 60 in 2023!
In September I continued living my best life. I took some chances in my career–writing and acting–that didn’t pan out, but you win some, you lose some. Nevertheless the HIGH you get from trying is phenomenal.
My cat Sammy, the supermodel! (Photo by James Esposito)
October was super special. My cat Sammy had the opportunity modeling collars for the Only An Ocean website! The photographer said he was a prince to work with. I am so proud of him for being so good and cooperative!
That same month I became a cat sitter for Meowtel. Earlier in the year I became certified to work with small animals, but I decided that was not what I wanted to do. Instead I figured I’d take advantage of my feline behavior certification and cat sit! I’ve only had two clients so far, but it is extremely rewarding. I’m meeting the nicest cats — and people!
October was also the month my public speaking engagements took off again! I stopped speaking during the pandemic and took a break from it. Come October, I started and now I have bookings up to April 2023!
Another cool thing in October, besides Halloween, is that it’s the month I get my eyes checked. For the second year in a row my eyesight improved! I attribute this to a vegan lifestyle because prior my eyes stayed stable from 2011 to 2020. Now my eyes got so much better, I’ll be getting glasses with a lesser prescription in May!
And if relating to the “Bad Vegan” story wasn’t close to home (with Pure Food & Wine being a restaurant I frequented often), another popular documentary, “The Watcher House” is relatable! Why? I live about 8 minutes from 657 Boulevard in Westfield, NJ.
While we are on the topic of Westfield, NJ, I’d like to point out, that’s also where Charles Addams lived. Westfield celebrates Addams every year. This year we visited the Rialto movie theatre which showcased his work. I even touched the desk her worked at!
While we were in Hoboken, it was cool to visit the building on Marine View Plaza where I got my start as a writer and wrote for Outlaw Biker, Tattoo Review, and In the Flesh (body piercing).
Maryanne as Mrs. Claus
In November I worked a gig as Mrs. Claus, and I hope to do more work as she in the future!
And before my husband and I went into hibernation mode, we went to see May Pang’s movie “The Lost Weekend” along with The Beatles exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Newark, NJ.
I had my last speaking engagement for the year early in December. Other than seeing some friends and family, our plans for the rest of the month are pretty low key. But then again, with us, you never know.
This is all just a brief summary of the year. I’m sure as soon as I press the “publish” button I’ll think of 25 more things I would want to add.
MY EYESIGHT IMPROVED ON VEGAN DIET!! I am ecstatic! Just got back from my yearly eye exam and have the best news!! My eyesight improved, for the second year in a row and I was able to get a lesser prescription for my contact lens–for the second year in a row, after having a stable higher prescription since 2011.
Check it out, back in October 2021, I was only vegan for two months and my eyes went from -9.50 in both eyes to -9.00 in my left eyes.
Now, two years later, My right eye is now -9.00 and my left eye is -8.50! My eyesight hasn’t been this good since I was in my 30s, back in the 1990s! And my eye health is excellent, including a great retina. AND in a few months I can go back and get REGULAR glasses (for around the house)! I no longer need the transitional glasses!
Mind you, there are three other things I am doing that may have attributed to my eye health improvement:
Joe Dispenza meditations. He actually did say that people’s eyesight improved while attending his retreats.
Taking a vegan eye supplement.
Scalp massages for better hair. Last April a stylist ruined my hair using too much bleach when she dyed it magenta. My hair was very dry. I’ve since decided to let my hair grow back to it’s natural brown color. It’s now a cool ombre. The magenta faded to strawberry blonde. Anyway, since last April I’ve been doing scalp massages two to three times per week, and my hair is very soft and back to normal. I think flipping my hair and massaging with my head down is bringing more blood circulation to my eyes as well!