TGIF!

Washington-Square-Park
Today was one of those cinematically picture perfect San Francisco Spring days. Everyone was in sundresses, shorts and camisoles, and flipflops.

The sky was California blue. (Sorry, Carolina folk! We claim it, too!)

Our walk took us from Pac Heights, through Fort Mason Park and down beside Gashouse Cove and the Maritime Museum, cutting away from the tourists into North Beach, in order to score some fresh-baked bread from an Italian bakery there.

Martin likes a bread they make called a "stubby," because it is wide, and just long enough to poke out beyond the bag they wrap it in.

Frankly," I told him, "I think the name is emasculating."

He answered, "Hell, I don't know a man in the world who wouldn't be proud of this as a…."  

SPEAK TO THE HAND.

The route we take drops us into Washington Square, North Beach's premier park. It is flanked by Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church on its north side, which is famous because newlyweds Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, had their pictures taken on the steps of the church, after a civil ceremony. I'm guessing that the Yankee Clipper's previous marriage and divorce kept them from going down aisle in his hometown parish's church.

Because we the the grandeur and solitude we find there, invariably we stop in and take a few moments to bask in its grace, and to say a prayer or two.

Do prayers work? They do for me. I don't know if it's because the Supreme Being feels my pain and deems it worthy to grant relief, or if it is what the universe had in mind for me all along.

I do know one thing: it's much more than, "Try it, and see what happens."

I'd say it's more like, "Some things we just can't explain…and that's okay."

No doubt about it: where there's a will, there's a way. But when the will isn't enough, I've got all the proof I need that faith picks up the slack.

Yep, thank God! It's Friday!

— Josie

 

HAH Hanging Man V2
The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

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Hugh Hefner and Marriage

Hugh-Hefner-Engaged-to-Crystal-Harris You've got to hand it to Playboy founder/editor-in-chief Hugh Hefner: he makes great headlines.

From that standpoint, it pays to have a journalistic background.

No doubt about it: his third marriage — at eighty-four, to twenty-four year-old Playmate Crystal Harris — is hot news.

Sadly, for all the wrong reasons.

Don't get me wrong. Pesonally, I'm all for marriage. I just feel that the best reasons to tie the knot are emotional ones, like love and commitment, as opposed to upping your Twitter followers, website stats, or magazine circulation.

I guess Crystal is getting something out of it, too — that is, if they are still a legal couple by the time Hef's will is being read. I hate to be so blunt about it, but come on already: if she isn't a gold digger (or as Twitter account @BestWorstAdvice puts it, grave digger), then she's got one helluva daddy complex.

Make that Grandpa complex. If that isn't a cry for help, then I don't know what is.

The absolute best line on Twitter:

@pattonoswalt: Hope when I turn 60 I can think, quietly, "My wife is being born somewhere." #hefner

The most ironic thing I've heard about it came from The Son, who said: "He's eighty-four, and he's been married only three times? Well, I guess that's something."

Interesting perspective. Just goes to show that there's an upside to everything, even this relationship.

Running the original lad mag, there's no doubt that The Hef has certainly slept with enough beautiful women. And certainly progeny isn't an issue, what with golden daughter, Christie, and son David (from first wife, Mildred), and spares Marston and Cooper (from second wife, Kimberley).

So, is it true love? Nah. It's strictly a numbers game.

If you want in on it, here's a heads-up: The New York Stock Exchange symbols for Playboy Enterprises are PLA and PLAA.

Short-term gain, all the way around,

–Josie

Josie's Latest Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores now. Order it TODAY!

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in the bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly entertaining reading." –Jackie Collins, Hollywood Wives

Saturday Share: This captures beautifully why I love San Francisco Bay

After being away for a few weeks, it's great to be reminded of why I call the San Francisco Bay Area home. This video, by Simon Christen, does just that.

Thanks, Simon!

 

Yes, you can go home again,

–Josie


(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it TODAY!

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in the bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly entertaining reading." –Jackie Collins, Hollywood Wives

 

Mother’s Day: What It Really Means to the Rest of Us

MomDancer Two years ago on Mother's Day weekend, I buried my own mom.

It was a bittersweet occasion. She'd been ill for the last two years of her life: with a myelodysplasia, a disease that hinders the longevity of your red blood cells.

The downhill process was not pretty. She was not ready for the abyss of the great beyond, and fought to live until her dying breath.

I'm guessing I'll do the same.

It would be wonderful to say that she had been one of those moms who made every one of her children feel as if they were her favorites, but that wasn't the case. While growing up, winning her approval was a constant endeavor. Even as adults, her three kids tiptoed around any issue that might throw her into a tizzy, or have her worrying to the point that she'd call the other two siblings to espouse her views on the problem child du jour's issue at hand.

Eventually we trained ourselves not to do her bidding: that is, to reiterate her advice to the odd-kid-out—something that we knew she'd already expressed in her very direct manner.

I know her worries on our behalf was her way of staying close to her farflung children. And I have no doubt that it also gave her something to focus on, other than her own problems: specifically her bouts of depression.

Her mood swings were notorious. If one of us had the misfortune to be caught in the black maelstrom of one, all we could do was resign ourselves to wait it out.

Or to disappear from her life, sometimes for months at a time. 

Eventually, each of us came to the decision to live our lives without worrying "What would Mom think?" about the careers we chose, our spouses, and most importantly of all, the way in which we raised our own children.

Our kids also had their learning curves with their grandma. Their attitudes toward her ran the gamut: one lived for her approval. Another realized quickly that there was no pleasing her, and tuned her out completely. The third saw that her love was unconditional no matter what, and learned to laugh through any discomfort her suggestions and declaration caused.

I'd wished we'd all been that smart at that young age.

I don't wish to leave you with an image of a woman who didn't love her children. On the contrary, she loved us all very much: unconditionally in fact, despite her actions that, at the time, had us doubting this. It is why she worked all her life at jobs that didn't give her professional satisfaction, but put food on the table, clothed us, and allowed us to be raised in tidy houses within safe neighborhoods. It's why we all appreciate the need for a good education, even if she couldn't pay for it for us.

It's why we've always felt as if we were "special": a cut above everyone else, despite having no financial legacy, or renowned surname, or obvious talents.

We are special because she told us so, from the very beginning.

And at the end, she realized that we all loved her unconditionally, too.

So yes, everything I am—driven beyond reason, loving every moment of life, prideful of my children, and able to recognize the true love of my husband, Martin—I owe to my mother, Maria, God rest her soul. 

It is a parent's goal to teach their children the lessons they feel are important. What I don't think parents realize is that sometimes the most important things they teach us are what we've witnessed from their mistakes. 

For the most part, parenting is often trial by error.

In that regard, my mother taught me a lot: that in truth, none of us are the embodiment of perfection. Rather, we endeavor to rise above our faults and fears in the hope of making ourselves the very best we can be.

[My mom, at nineteen]

—Josie

http://twitter.com/JosieBrownCA




Secret-Lives400w  
Josie's
Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it
TODAY
!

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in
the
bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money
and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled
observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly
entertaining reading."

Jackie
Collins
, bestselling author of Hollywood Wives and Poor Little Bitch Girl


What do Albert Einstein, Gandhi, and Houdini Have in Common? My Pecan Pie

HoudiniLives I was recently interviewed by MJ Rose as to my feelings regarding reincarnation — just in time for the mass paperback version of her new book, THE REINCARNATIONIST, to hit bookstores.

I don't mean to get all woo-woo on you, but I do believe that our souls sometimes linger on this earth, or take on another body, when the will seeks a different way to reach out and touch someone again.

Which brings me to my dinner with Albert Einstein, Gandhi, and Houdini, all of whom were wise men when it comes to cosmic conundrums. One of the questions she asked was to name three deceased people with whom I'd love to break bread. Talk about a hostess dilemma! Knowing me, I'd be caught up in the preparation of the food as opposed to the fact that I'M HAVING DINNER WITH THREE OF THE GREATEST MINDS THAT ONCE TREAD THE EARTH.

To put things in perspective, I shouldn't really be worrying about whether I'll burn the veggies when I grill them, or if my guests will fall in love with my homemade pecan pie because they'd be there solely (soul-ly?) for the company, and so would I.

Life (and death) happens,

—Josie




SecretLivesCoverFinalWeb   Josie's
Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it
TODAY
!

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in
the
bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money
and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled
observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly
entertaining reading."

Jackie
Collins
, bestselling author of Hollywood Wives and Poor Little Bitch Girl

Heaven Can Wait…

Annmargaretelvis(Posted 9:49 AM PST, October 18, 2006)

I'm getting on a plane in a couple of days. By my nature, I'm not a great flyer, but those who know me know that I've had hypnosis to help me with this issue, and so far, so good.

In other words, I haven't been clucking like a chicken when the flight attendant says "Fasten your seatbelts, we're expecting turbulence…" so all good.

I was first able to comprehend the concept of death when, at the age of eight, I slipped and fell on a hard concrete floor. The breath was knocked out of me—as was any thought of surviving to my ninth birthday.

Ever since, I’ve wondered how MY TURN would come. A car wreck? Cancer? Choking on a sandwich?

Take a look at the odds: a person dies in a car wreck every third minute of every day. Marin County, California, where I live, has the highest breast cancer rate in the country. Then of course, there’s Mama Cass.

I’ve never been one to assume my own immortality. I’ve had too many near-misses with the Grim Reaper. Three incidences were water-related. Needless to say, you won’t find me surfing the riptides off Stinson Beach. I even take a life preserver into the bathtub.

My kids say I’m no fun at the amusement park. They don’t realize, each time I refuse to get on the roller coaster or the ferris wheel, I’ve just saved their lives.  Don’t they know that the one time I consent to a ride, it will go spiraling off into oblivion?

My husband tells me I’ve died a thousand cowardly deaths. Only when you’re at the wheel, I retort. If I’m going to be a statistic, I prefer not to share top billing, let alone be an asterisk in someone else’s grand finale.

Airplanes? Hey, you've already been duly warned. Job-related flying in the high-on-the-hog ‘90s kept my knuckles a constant shade of pale. To this day there exists a frequent travelers’ club for Plane Passengers Who Have Sat Next To Josie Brown. Members sport identical nail marks on their right arms, and bonus points are given for the number of times each has chanted the mantra, “Trust me, flying is 200 times safer than driving”  while sitting next to me.

I’ve always believed that the Greater Being has created each of us for some imperative purpose. For years, this has been one way I have rationalized an otherwise debilitating fear of the afterlife.

Then I remember the Six Degrees of Separation theory.  If it is true that each of us is somehow connected to everyone else by a maximum of six others, I certainly hope my grand purpose is greater than, say, having once been the thirteen-year-old babysitter for a future serial killer. I’d hate to think it was my aversion to changing his diaper that set him off.

Despite our techno-surroundings, Heaven’s hype grows  proportionately with each subsequent generation. The latest version of Our Final Reward, Heaven is filled with angels and old friends basking in the glow of happiness and love. Streets are paved in gold, there is no pain or suffering, and the afterlife is ageless.

I’ll buy that.  Sign me up. But not today. I’d like to tough it out here for a few more years, to see if I might be able to carve out a little bit of heaven here on earth.

Or, In the words of that immortal sex kitten Ann-Margaret, I’ve gotta lotta livin’ to do.

Sticking around,

Josie

You can email me at: JosieBrownAuthor@yahoo.com

Hey, and read my blog on Amazon.com.

And definitely check out my website, and read about my books: http://www.josiebrown.com