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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.

Summer Tan

16 Jul

Confession #1: Attempt to conceal a suntan


My father’s work centered on exporting Ban De Soleil which did not provide enough sunscreen and helped me tan….

I wish my mom I hope my mom did not know about all of the times that I hid my tan. Honestly, I think she must have been able to see through the J & J Baby Powder I often applied on the way home from a too sunny day at the beach. Her adamant anti-tan stance was certainly strong and right. Although, as a teenager—or even young adult, I never acquiesced and always argued against her anti-tan campaign. This is definitely on the top ten list of “Things I Swore I Would NOT Do When I Became a Mom, But Now Do with Conviction.” Except, I recently got caught falling into that old, bad tanning habit.

Confession #2: Being tan again

I was inspired to write this particular post last week when a kind, unassuming woman who seemed to be about the same age my mom would be (80 ish) commented on my tan. I was waiting for my son when she walked into the doctor’s waiting room, smiled at me and said, “Oh, what a pretty tan you have.” How could she know that her comment would incite guilt. I  had not even realized that I have a noticeable tan. I looked at my arms and saw my soccer mom’s tan. It makes sense that the sun’s rays have pierced through my sunscreen given the many hours I’ve spent on the sideline.

I felt my mom’s reprimand from years ago and replied, “Oh thank you, but I think I’d better be more careful when I watch my son play soccer.” Not intending to play devil’s advocate, she interrupted my confession and continued to compliment my “lovely color.” Then, she re-directed our discussion to questions about my son and his summer soccer. Soon I was entranced and enjoying the attention and her interest in me and my son.

Confession #3  This post is not just about the allure and danger of being tan

One of the reasons I started this blog is my husband’s observation 16 years ago. He noticed that after returning from playing with my daughter in Taylor Park, I would often have a story about older, grandmother-type women I met. I would gush, “Oh she told me about her children….she takes her little grandchildren to the park…she can’t wait to see her daughter’s new baby…..” Sometimes they gave unsolicited advice that I imbibed—I hope you don’t give her too much candy…make sure you set rules…enjoy each moment….Of course they oohed and aahed as they exclaimed how adorable my daughter was, how smart she seemed, what a good jungle gym climber she was…. Scott put this all together with a spot-on summation: through these women, I was able to experience the mom/grandmother relationship I so desired. These “other mothers” , provided a glimpse into the life I imagined I’d have with my mom. My experience last week gave me a few moments with an “other mother.”

I wish my mom knew how much her wisdom would inspire me. While I did not have the chance to admit to her that she was right about the tan (and obviously still need to be reminded), I think that she must have seen my powder cover-up as a sign of guilt and acknowledgement.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go….

4 Dec

Please forgive me for gloating in this post. I am teeming with glee as I celebrate the very first time that my children and I participated in the same 5K! We did not run side by side, but we crossed the same starting and finish lines as we added support to our town’s American Red Cross Walk/Run for Life. For more than 25 years, I have been an avid runner. Some people prefer to run on their own, but I have always loved having a running partner (s). I often run with my husband and friends. And, over the last 5 years, my daughter has been an occasional, but favorite running partner. We run together for fun and have done many charity races. Five years ago she struggled to finish a 4 mile run for lung cancer and today she came in 2nd in her age group.  On our runs, I often think, “It doesn’t get better than this….” And, today, it just got better.

While I have tried, unsuccessfully, to motivate my son to run in the past, he has just recently become self-motivated. His impetus for running is to be more fit for soccer. That is admirable, but I would have even been happy if his impetus was tv time after a long run. He joined the high school winter track team and is now having a great time running with friends and challenging himself. He used to dodge any attempt I made to get him to run—with me, on his own or in an organized race. So, when we asked him about doing this American Red Cross run and he quickly said, “YES,” I privately jumped with joy! I was so nervous about him backing out that I put off signing him up until 30 minutes before the race was set to begin.

I wish I could tell my mom about our day. I’d love to tell her how this reminds me of some of her favorite activities that she wanted my family to enjoy with her.  As an antiques dealer and aficionado, she wanted us to stop at just about every antiques store we encountered. During family road trips we sometimes gave great effort to diverting her attention from any antiques store we spotted.  It was almost comical—“Mom, can you help me with this crossword puzzle….would you check the map…do you like my hair this way….” I have often thought of how thrilled she must have been the first time I said yes to her invitation to join her at an antiques auction. My attendance was only partly to appease her and mostly to try it out. I was starting to plan for my own apartment and thought I might need some antiques. And, after buying a pretty set of dishes (her treat and favorites that I still use), I converted. I started to enjoy browsing in antiques stores –with her and even on my own.

 It was not easy to “wait” for both of my children to enjoy one of my favorite activities. And, I knew it might not happen, there was no guarantee that they would ever share my passion. Just like my mom, I nagged a bit and then held back. I pleaded a few times and then forced myself to ignore the topic completely. Just as my mom was, I’m sure, excited for our 2nd antiques auction outing, I am excited for the next opportunity to pursue this newly formed family tradition!