A couple weeks ago I had the honor to interview two young people who are now working at The Falls.
PATERSON FALLS (Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)
This morning I interviewed two new park rangers for an article that will run in Paterson Press. I suggested interviewing outdoors — as this was the glorious view!
It’s such a blessing to live so close to a National Park, with a natural falls.
I’ve been visiting the Paterson Falls since I was a little girl and it never ceases to amaze me.
People come from all over to check out this natural wonder. Last time I spoke to people who visited, they were from Brooklyn and totally amazed that there was a falls right in New Jersey.
This time, one this beautiful summer day with no humidity, it was completely peaceful with only a handful of people at the landmark. Truly a great time to just take a breather and enjoy it. A clear day made for a beautiful shot, eh?
I had a beautiful morning at the Great Falls attending the tribute to Senator Frank Lautenberg hosted by Congressman Bill Pascrell.
Here’s another article I wrote with the Great Falls as background: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Summer_jazz_concerts_kick_off_at_Patersons_Great_Falls.html?c=y&page=1
This article also appeared in New Jersey’s Bergen Record newspaper.
My mom called me this morning, excited. So cute!
Last night I had the honor and pleasure of reporting at the Great Falls Jazz Festival. My husband accompanied me, even though he was under the weather, which was so sweet.
I’ll upload the article when it runs later today.
It was so much fun. The music was great, the weather was perfect and we even saw little ground hogs around the falls area! My husband was talking to a couple from out of town and they thought the ground hogs were prairie dogs because ground hogs are bigger. But these were babies! That’s how small they were, there were at least four of them!
After interviewing several people, we decided to take a ride to one of the neighborhoods I grew up in. It was nice seeing my old house again.
Today West Paterson is known as “Woodland Park” but I still call it West Paterson.
I lived in that house from ages 5 to 9, then we moved to Cedar Grove.
My grandparents owned this house. I lived here with my mom, dad, and sister on the main floor. The basement was furnished and that’s where Aunt Sophie lived.
Next door there was a small house (now demolished) that my grandparents also owned and they lived there, sometimes I’d live in that house too. I had toys in both places. And the smaller house is the one I sat on the porch and read comic books on summer nights, eating barbecue potato chips, while my Grandma and Aunt Sophie chatted.
After visiting the houses, Dennis and I went to Munchies in Little Falls (a taco joint that has been around since the 1970s, at least). I got a vegan bean burrito (no cheese).
It was a perfect night!
And it was a perfect day too! Since being back on Face Book, I reconnected with some old friends — including someone extra special, my good friend Amy.
Amy and I were journalists at Outlaw Biker, Skin Art and Tattoo Review magazines. During our time there I was 31 and Amy was 21. We were very close and did so many things together. Connections from that job, there were always parties and plenty of fun and mischief to get into — especially for two young, pretty girls. We even modeled together in a t-shirt ad!
When we reconnected on Face Book, it felt like we never skipped a beat. It was like, “How did we ever lose touch?!” We just always got along so good! Now almost 20 years later, we reconnected. We lived less than 10 minutes away from each other. We’re both happily married, major cat lovers, and now approaching milestone birthdays as I’ll be 50 in a few weeks and Amy will be 40 on Christmas Eve (and we’re both still cute!)
We ended up spending two hours at an Indian restaurant for lunch in my town, catching up and reminiscing about all the fun we had back in the day. After lunch we briefly stopped at the health food store, then went back to my house and spent another two hours together! Just like old times!
I am ecstatic that Amy is back in my life, and living so close. And she said, “We definitely should get together every other week or so.” I agree.
Life is awesome!
This morning I had a writing assignment in Paterson, near the Great Falls. So it was nice to catch a breather and take in the sight. It’s a gorgeous day in New Jersey. A bit overcast, but I love that when I have nothing else to do but stay home and write. (And watch over my sick kitty, Billy, who is still being a trooper).
Even during rough times, life is good. And sometimes it’s so nice being out and about so early in the day during the week. You can definitely see the world from a different prospective. Right before lunch is the best time to be out and about in a heavy populated area. I think that’s the time where there is the least amount of traffic and people are pretty mellow. I had fun shopping at Fairway too. The supermarket that is always crowded was practically empty at this time.
Peace feels nice.
As the Violent Femmes song goes, “Good feeling, won’t you stay with me, just a little longer.”
with Leonard Zax, president of the Hamilton Partnership
Yesterday I had the pleasure of covering this amazing event at Montclair Museum: http://www.northjersey.com/montclair/Montclair_Museum_event_celebrates_Patersons_Past_and_Future.html
So cool that my former hometown, Montclair, had a featured event on the town I was born in, Paterson!
I honestly wish I had better pictures to post. The event was at a weird time from 12 to 1:30, so I was very hungry for lunch and couldn’t wait to get to Veggie Heaven. Luckily Montclair Museum had healthy Terra chips to hold me over!
All in all, it was a great, gorgeous day! Spring has sprung in New Jersey.
Okay, let’s try this again!
Two days ago I wrote a Happy 2013 but it didn’t turn out as positive as I normally am, which is good in one way because life isn’t always peaches and cream and I do like to “keep it real,” but bad in another way because I am not one to dwell on the negative and I think even when venting (which is healthy in some ways) getting responses to negativity only snowballs it and that is not what I am about. Moving forward I should only vent to my husband or trusted friends/family.
So I deleted that entry.
My negativity was on my business. After Hurricane Sandy, business took a nose dive and I wasn’t a happy camper. My webmaster also had a problem getting my site going because of some technical problems, which magnified my woes and since I am a perfectionist, it was like the world falling apart for me. I wanted my website to look perfect when I sent out my “Happy New Year” email and it took longer than expected to get it to my high standards.
Then once the website was fixed — miraculously so was my business! The updated website went out in my mass email and THREE old clients came back — two within minutes of the email going out!
THAT, dear readers, is the power of positivity! (My home-based company Pear Tree Enterprises website, www.peartreeenterprises.com always offers good words to my clients and readers — and whenever I am down, my husband says, “Get some of that Pear Tree spirit!”)
Needless to say, I am so busy I am turning down work again for next week!
So aside from my business being back on track, I had a few wonderful days during the time between Christmas and New Year’s. On Sunday, the first day my husband and I had together in a long time that didn’t involve holiday shopping or house cleaning, we took a couple long rides. First to a restaurant called Cracker Barrel where they have lots of retro goodies. It was a bit of a challenge eating there because there weren’t many vegetarian options, as even many of their vegetables are cooked in a meat broth, but the waitress was wonderfully patient with me and we had a super romantic time dining right in front of the fireplace.
As we were leaving, we spotting an adorable Teddy Bear that sang, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in a children’s voice. Dennis and I fell in love with the bear and just couldn’t bear (pun intended!) to leave him behind! He was just so cute.
New Year’s Eve we went to Imperial 46, a wonderful Japanese restaurant in West Paterson — er, excuse me Woodland Park (the fancy new name because residents didn’t want to be associated with the negativity of Paterson due to the high crime rate, but screw you imbeciles who voted for the new name, Paterson is an amazing town with so much culture, museums, great schools and a grand falls — just 15 minutes from NYC! You are totally FOOLISH for not wanting to be associated with it!) ANYWAY, Imperial 46 is special because they serve sushi with brown rice. I was so happy I got to use a little Japanese which I learned several years ago while planning a trip to Japan that I never quite made.
After that we visited my Mom, sister, nephew and their doggies and had a blast. Then rang in the New Year with Dennis’ father, brother and his girlfriend. We had so much laughs.
The next day we went to a party that our friends Daniel and Patty had at their home in Neptune (Jersey shore) which was spared from the storm. After the party we took a ride to the beach, which looked like a war zone.
New Jersey beaches are so gorgeous in the winter and you’ll always see people walking on the beach with their dogs no matter what season it is. But the entire Belmar boardwalk was demolished. We saw homes that were destroyed and evacuated. It definitely put a sad tone on the day.
The streets nearest the beach were blocked off and only residents were allowed to drive on those roads. We took a walk and it was just too depressing. I said it reminded me of two things: 1. The devastating ending of “Planet of the Apes” where everything was destroyed and 2. 9/11. The exception was that Mother Nature did this, not man.
So that was my last few days in a nutshell.
In spite of all the fun I was so downhearted because of my business being slow. I felt de-energized and so exhausted. I also had some sciatica which I am sure was due to stress. So I went to acupuncture last night and slept almost around the clock. My sciatica is completely gone and I am coming to life! I was starting to feel a little positive with two new clients coming back, but then I went through the roof when the third one called today!
Next week it will be a typical Pear Tree week. I am happy beyond belief!
I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!
I am especially excited because this year is a milestone for me, as I will be turning 50 on August 19!
It’s the end of 2012, also the end of my first year as a blogger.
For those who follow me, you may have picked up that “fun” and “positivity” are my middle names.
Life is meant to be lived to the fullest and I am so blessed that I have my amazing soul mate husband, Dennis; two gorgeous healthy kitties; my friends; a wonderful immediate family as well as in-laws; and all the other wonderful folks in my life; all a part of my big picture, there for me for fun times, as well as being there for me when I need shoulders to cry on or some damn good advice. What a blessing. Thank you all!
With so many special things going on every day, it’s really hard to pick what I feel is best, but I am giving it my best shot and I hope you enjoy my list! Thanks for reading and following!
Love, Maryanne xo
BEST OF 2012
1. Proudest Moment: When I found out The Aquarian Arts Weekly newspaper got into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame — every issue, which means a lot of my writing since I had my own gothic column in 2002 and reviewed CDs for them. Not to mention in 1991 I was a model for a guitar ad! After receiving this news, I felt like I became a part of pop culture history!
2. Creative Project Most Proud of: I am beyond honored to have had the opportunity to work with Scott Schiaffo, actor best known for his role as the Chewlies Man in Kevin Smith’s movie “Clerks.” Scott hired me to edit his poetry book, “Vicious Dogs Attack Me in Sleepless Nights of Summer.” But even better, I wrote the foreword about my long time friendship with Scott.
3. Most Rewarding Work: All year long I was writing for The Paterson Press online. This was a very rewarding experience to me for two reasons. One, I was able to write four articles about the Great Falls; and two, I got to write about so many positive things that kids have been doing for the community and the rewards they have received. Not much could beat the high I get when I am in the midst of it all. Writing will always be my first love and I am blessed to be able to make money doing it. Not to mention all the inspiring people I meet along the way.
4. Favorite Creative Moment: For the past several days I’ve been blogging about “Hounds of Winter” a Christmas studio project courtesy of musical masterminds Tom Corea and Tom DiPaolo. Each year my husband, Dennis, plays bass on several tracks and sometimes guitar too. Each year I go several times to the studio with him and have a blast. Well, this year I got to sing back up on one of the tracks “C’mon, C’mon.” Not a big deal, but a very big deal to me. You see, I’m not a singer. Several years ago I wrote a children’s Christmas song for one of the CDs and I couldn’t even sing my own song! Luckily we had a professional singer sing the song — the way I wanted her too (like Rudolph!) So I was shocked when Tom asked me to sing. Not like it was a big singing job, but it was singing! My husband coached me, tapping my leg when to join in because my sense of timing and rhythm is completely off. But I did it and I am so happy that this little dream of mine came true! It only makes me wonder what other great things can happen in the future!
5. My Most Viewed Blog: According to my stats, hundreds of people have viewed my tribute to Helen Gurley Brown when she died this past summer: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/rip-helen-gurley-brown-feb-18-1922-to-aug-13-2012/
6. Best Concert: I can’t do this to myself! I’ve seen so many fantastic shows this year (Gordon Lightfoot, Smokey Robinson, Dick Dale, Glen Campbell, the original Crickets, The Toys, 1910 Fruitgum Company, to name a few) … no, no, no, I can’t pick one!! But if I was strapped to an electric chair and had to pick one or die, I would have to go with Glen Campbell. Yes, the man has alzheimer’s disease and was playing songs in the wrong key, it was hard to notice unless you are a musician yourself and his audience was so supportive of him, he received standing ovation after standing ovation. He still had the star quality and I was moved beyond belief!
7. Best Song (and comeback): “Stay Away From Downtown” by Redd Kross. Check it out:
8. Best Cover Band: Tusk (Fleetwood Mac tribute). This band is so freaking amazing I saw them several times over the summer. They are just so on the money. The guitarist plays so well he inspired me to add a few Lindsey Buckingham CDs to my collection. What a terrific treat! Check them out: http://fleetwoodmactribute.com/
9. Best Natural Food: GT’s Chia Kombucha. I am so hooked, I have to have this drink at least once or twice per day.
10. Email of the Year: Two years ago, 2010, I interviewed fashion icon Oleda Baker for my health column, “Here’s to Your Health.” I absolutely loved talking to her. She was great. But the surprising thing was, she emailed me earlier this year saying how much she loved my interview back in 2010 and wanted to thank me again. In all my years of journalism, I’ve had people thank me in the sweetest ways, but never so many times as Oleda did. She is just a wonderful person, that’s all there is to it! You can read the interview here: http://verona.patch.com/articles/fashion-icon-oleda-baker-shares-her-fountain-of-youth-beauty-secrets
11. Best Radio Show: The Glen Jones Radio Show w/X-Ray Burns. If you live in New Jersey, you can get it at 91.1 WFMU. If you don’t live in the area, you can listen to it on the internet: http://wfmu.org/jones/
The Paterson Falls has always been dear to my heart.
I was born in Paterson, but then my family moved around to other towns in the area: West Paterson, Cedar Grove and Little Falls (where I spent a large chunk of my adult life, before moving to Montclair and finally Union County).
My fondest memories of the Falls was when I was around 15 and my Uncle Mickey took me, my sister Kim, and his daughters, Michelle, Nancy and Laura to visit the Falls, which included a trip to Libby’s across the street and the Dairy Queen.
In later years, I took so many friends to the Falls that didn’t even know they existed. These amazing Falls, just a half hour from NYC. Can you even believe it?
One of my favorite books of all time is “Paterson” by William Carlos Williams — and of course he includes some writings about the Falls.
Over the past year, I’ve had the honor to write several articles about the Falls for The Paterson Press.
Here they are, in order of publication:
FEB. 7, 2012 The Great Falls Guest Stars on “The Good Wife”: http://thealternativepress.com/articles/the-great-falls-guest-stars-on-cbss-the-good-wi
JULY 15, 2012 Patersonians Jazzed About Great Falls Festival: http://thealternativepress.com/articles/patersonians-jazzed-about-great-falls-music-festi
SEP. 9, 2012 “An American River”: http://thealternativepress.com/towns/paterson/articles/an-american-river-turn-the-pages-for-a-ride-do
Oct. 15, 2012 Paterson Native Writes Her Second Book on the Great Falls: http://thealternativepress.com/towns/paterson/articles/paterson-native-writes-her-second-book-on-the-gre
ENJOY — and come visit sometime!