Archive | April, 2013

Speaking of Sex…

28 Apr

Were you a fan of Dr. Ruth Westheimer? If you have not heard her voice since the 1980s when her radio show, Sexually Speaking, was one of the most risqué and popular, click Dr. Ruth’s Youtube Channel . If you’re too young, did not live in the New York area in the 1980s or just did not tune in, click the channel anyway— you’ll understand the point of this post after watching her introduction.  I had the most fortunate experience this past Friday night when she spoke during my Temple’s Shabbat service. Dr. Ruth is as spunky and full of good advice as ever! And, she is 84 years old! I always admired her. After learning more about her past and about the tremendous work she has done, I am just in awe.

As I sat in Temple, mesmerized by her presence and giggling as she told heart-warming and humorous stories, I could not help but wonder how I ever felt comfortable listening to her sex advice as a teenager and even more astonishing–  with my parents in the car!! Did you listen to Sexually Speaking alone? Or, with others? Either we were intrigued enough to overcome embarrassment or she made the subject of sex tolerable, or both. Not only did she give explicit and seemingly sound advice, she normalized a taboo topic.

I would actually like to try an experiment and I’ll let you know if I do: listening to her give advice with my teenage children present. I can just imagine being in the car with my 16 year old son (my age when her talk show was becoming popular), and turning to a radio station featuring Dr. Ruth talking about various sex positions. My son would turn red and immediately change the station.  I cannot as easily predict my 19 year old daughter’s reaction.  I think she would be less embarrassed, but still not at all interested in listening together.

The best thing about the Dr. Ruth’s mission is that she tried to make situations better for couples and individuals. She wanted people to be happy. She thought good sex was a key to happiness (no more comments on that—phew, I certainly don’t want to stray from my blog’s main purpose….) and I bet she did save some marriages.

Most engaging for me, was her theme this past Friday night. To avoid any disrespect on the Sabbath, she refrained from explicit talk during the service (she did promise more open and less edited conversation after services ended). The advice she wanted to give was more about her life than sex. She emphasized the “Chutzpah” needed to find happiness and success. Her accomplishments, she said, were due to her seizing the moment and taking risks. She implored the younger generation to find opportunity, take advantage of offers and take chances. These are messages my mom endorsed. During her talk, I thought about my mom and the similar advice she gave.

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Our Tunes

14 Apr

I have recently rediscovered and re-worked my Itunes music and playlists. I have my own varied and incongruent collection of favorites and sometimes stop to wonder, why? Why do I like this song so much? That question plus the influence my children’s music selection has on mine, led me to want to know more about what music  my mom loved throughout her life and even predict what she would be listening to now.  And, that is part of my quest in writing my blog: first, wishing my mom was here to share everything and every day. But, since I can’t change that, I so often wish I knew more about my mom. I wonder about the little things that either I should know, but never paid attention to or the things I never thought I wanted to know—after all, how many young children or teens really care what their parents listen to?

My mom’s playlist: I can only add one song and one genre. That’s it, that’s all I know for sure. I recall her listening over and over to Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy’s Indian Love Call.  My dad’s parody of the youoooh-ooh triggered giggles in all of us. Did you or your parents listen to this 1936 song which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame recently—in 2008! I wish my mom could have known that her song has this permanent honor!  Music touches each of us in such unique and personal ways and that  matters more than the recognition. Yet, I can’t help, but wonder—my mom was only 5 years old when this song was recorded. What drew her to the song? Did she watch the Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy movies? I might just have to fill the next rainy weekend with old movies.

Later in her life, I know my mom was drawn to country music. I can recall long car rides (perhaps on one of those College Road Trips ) when she would find a country music station and tell me which songs she liked. I have found myself repeating her exact explanation for liking certain songs—they tell a story.

Another thing I know for sure, is that my and my mom’s playlists would not have nearly as much overlap as mine and my children’s.  While some of my extended family members (my mom’s sister’s family) are musicophiles with vast knowledge about and discerning taste in classical music and show tunes, I am like the “black sheep” of music, without a consistent genre or style.

Currently, my playlist favorites which are also part of either/both of my children’s music collection include:

  • Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us and Same Love
  • Fun.’s Some Nights, Carry On and It Gets Better
  • Queen’s Somebody to Love
  • Beyonce (too many to list)
  • The Dave Matthews Band’s If Only and American Baby
  • Eric Clapton’s Angel
  • and many more!

I must share, separately, songs/artists/albums that my daughter introduced me to and that I love listening to:

  • John Legend
  • James Morrison
  • O.A.R.
  • Corrine Bailey Rae
  • Les Miserables
  • Dream Girls
  • The Music of Nashville, the only one I know would also be on my mom’s playlist!

Would my mom like the stories told by Macklemore and Fun.? Would we go to a concert together, maybe Barbra Streisand? As different as my mom’s and my playlists might be, she selflessly took me to my first concert, David Cassidy at the Garden State Arts Center (now PNC Arts Center). I did not take my daughter to her first concert, Brittany Spears at the Prudential Center. But, we did share a really special night – John Legend  at Radio City Music Hall. And, now she’s obsessed with the music festival, Ultra, which is not likely to become a mother/daughter event!

I am intrigued by these connections: mother/daughter music taste and influence. At the very least, having some commonality in music boosts (or is a result of) mother-daughter bonding. I am grateful I have enough “music” history with my mom to write this post and, of course, I wish my mom could hear my playlist now—and I, hers!