This Lady Sure Knows How To Toot Her Own Horn!

Louise Baranger first put her hands on a trumpet in the fourth grade.

“Someone came to the school so we could learn to play band instruments. My best friend’s brother had a trumpet in their attic, so she had to play the trumpet. Of course, I said ‘I’ll play the trumpet.’ I immediately realized this was me. The trumpet was really cool,” Louise told me.

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When did you last have incredible sex?

I learned some interesting facts about the sexual habits of women 50+ from the polls we started taking on FabOverFifty during the last couple of months. One of the numbers that stood out is that 40 percent of us have sex with a partner fewer than four times a year.

Although the poll didn’t ask whether women care about their limited sexual experiences with partners, I would venture to guess that they don’t care much. As one 60+ woman told me a few years ago, “If my husband died, I wouldn’t mind if I never had sex again.”
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Do you know a narcissist?

I know a lady who always needs to tell everyone how great she is. Everything she does is fabulous, wonderful, brilliant and popular beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Her plans are always grand. Her posturing is insufferable. She also puts others down to make herself look good. She thinks she’s doing it subtly, but she couldn’t be more obvious. When she speaks to me, I feel like I’m back at Francis Lewis High School, listening to a “popular” girl regale her hangers on about her dates.

I’m all for competition and I love winning. But I’m not the smartest, prettiest, nicest person in the room all the time and I’ve learned to watch out for those who announce they are. It often belies their insecurity, I’ve learned, or their narcissism. Really smart, pretty, nice people don’t need to broadcast their intelligence, looks and generosity. Their acts and their demeanor should speak louder than their words.

 

Sure, it’s nice to have a child who does great things, but why isn’t it enough to enjoy his or her success without shouting it from the rooftops (or the manicure chair?).

 

 

I put mothers who relentlessly brag about their children in the same bucket. Somehow, they feel that their offspring’s accomplishments demonstrate their matchless parenting skills. In fact, one often has little, if not nothing, to do with the other. Sure, it’s nice to have a child who does great things, but why isn’t it enough to enjoy his or her success without shouting it from the rooftops (or the manicure chair?).

Sharing nice things that happen to us and to those we love is delightful, but beware when sharing turns into soliloquy about son Jack’s Harvard acceptance or daughter Jill’s impending marriage to a doctor.

I decided to Google “are narcissists really insecure?” to see if anyone backs up my theory, and came upon an article by Dr. Craig Malkin, a clinical psychologist and author, who wrote that obvious narcissistic traits—besides pretentious plans and posturing—include “the apparent absence of even a shred of empathy and the rage at being called out on the slightest of imperfections or normal human missteps.” Yep, when my narcissistic acquaintance talked about her sister-in-law dying of cancer, it was with the same affect of someone talking about a change in the weather.

Dr. Malkin also says narcissists “say and do things, subtle or obvious, that make you feel less smart, less accomplished, less competent. It’s as if they’re saying, ‘I don’t want to feel this insecure and small; here, you take the feelings.’ The narcissist loves to knock out your lights to seem brighter by comparison.”

Do you suppose that narcissists know they’re narcissists? Of course they do, I say. Some studies suggest that narcissists care more about being perceived as superior on traits such as industriousness, assertiveness and dominance, compared to traits such as honesty and agreeableness.

Narcissists don’t seem to care whether they’re thought of as good people. Being admired is more important than being liked. What’s ironic is that they usually can’t get enough admiration. They’re constantly looking for more, which further fuels their narcissistic tendencies.

You start to feel as if you are Alice

When you see Julianne Moore in a typically witless L’Oreal commercial, it’s easy to forget she’s a marvelous actor, not just a beautiful redhead idiotically gushing about the latest magical skin cream you
can pick up in your corner drugstore.

Watch Ms. Moore for one minute in her new movie, Still Alice, and you actually forget she’s a brilliant actor, not really the 50-something victim of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. From the moment Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor at Columbia University, starts to forget words, you feel as if you are her, as her frustration progresses to fear and then to anguish. As she struggles to stay connected to her job, and to her husband (Alec Baldwin) and three grown children, you ask yourself if you’d be as resolute to take control over your hideous illness; as practical to assess its forward march through your brain, and as gracious to everyone around you.

When I read the 2007 book, by Lisa Genova, upon which the movie is based, it made an impression that has remained with me ever since. I can still see the words describing Alice as she takes her routine jog through Cambridge (she’s a Harvard professor in the novel), and stopping suddenly because she can’t remember where to turn next. The movie isn’t quite as powerful as the book (which spent over 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and garnered numerous prestigious awards), at least to me, but it’s a masterpiece nonetheless. Although I didn’t see all the movies starring women who received Best Actress nominations, it’s unlikely anyone’s performance rivaled Ms. Moore’s.

“Julianne could not only project the scintillating intelligence and complexity of a linguistics professor but also the vulnerability and simplicity of the later stages,” wrote director Wash Westmoreland in a press release.

“She’d be able to master every beat of the character’s deterioration. She is quite simply one of the finest actors on the planet.”

Preparing for the role, 53-year-old Ms. Moore met Alzheimer’s patients who are close in age to the 50-year-old portrayed in the film. “[Writer Lisa Genova] made the character 50, and not 80, because that way you’re able to talk about Alzheimer’s as an actual disease, not a condition of aging,” Julianne told Closer magazine in an interview. Praising those who were generous to share their stories with her, the actor said it was “devastating” to meet these victims. She remains friends with Sandy, a patient she met who was diagnosed at 45 and “had a hell of a time coping with the disease,” Julianne said. “One of the reasons I connected with her is that she has red hair—we look very similar.”

Accepting the Golden Globe Award, earlier this week, for best actress in a drama, Ms. Moore recalled author Lisa Genova telling her, “No one wants to see a movie about a middle-aged woman.” She praised Sony Pictures Classics for deciding to “celebrate who we are, what we value and who we love.”

Still Alice opens this week across the country. Even if you only see happy movies, make an exception. Still Alice is a far cry from Meet The Fockers, and although it won’t tickle your funny bone, it will touch your heart.

I’m A Very Lucky Woman!

I got one of the best Chanukah/Christmas presents a woman can get, last Saturday (12.13.14):
A perfect daughter in law.

She’s beautiful, smart, independent, warm and caring and has a world of friends who love her. But that’s not why she’s perfect. She’s perfect because she adores my son, and seeing how happy he is around her makes me happy.

I am not a mother-in-law who has any intention of competing with my new daughter-in-law for my son’s attention. I’d lose, hands down, anyway! But I already know that she’d come to my side, in a flash, if I needed her.

I didn’t give a toast at the wedding last weekend (the two fathers gave the best toasts I’ve ever heard at any wedding), but if I had, I would have said that my new daughter-in-law truly gives credence to the adage: “You can tell a lot about a person by his (or her) friends.” Her close girlfriends I’ve met seem as genuine as my daughter-in-law. She is part of their families. She loves their little kids and they love her.

There doesn’t seem to be a bit of envy or competitiveness in the air when she and her friends are together. Only warmth and affection.

I can say the same thing about my son. Each one of his incredibly handsome and accomplished close friends is one-of-a-kind. I adore every single one of them. Their excitement about his happiness, at the wedding, was breathtaking. I’ve known these guys for years and they weren’t just making nice. They are thrilled he married this girl and to see him so happy. Almost the last of his friends to marry, my son seemed as if he’d be the “bachelor uncle,” forever.

Perhaps the best testament to my new daughter-in-law’s heart and soul is my own daughter, who counts her new sister-in-law as a friend and is thrilled her brother made such a wonderful choice and is so happy. BTW, my daughter speaks her mind like no one else I know, even me.

It’s a great comfort to see my children all grown up, with such fine partners. Of course, I’ll never stop worrying about them, but now I have a daughter and son-in-law to share the worrying.

What more can a Jewish mother (or any mother, for that matter) ask for?

A Secret I’m Willing To Admit!

OK, I’m going to get this over with, before I hesitate a moment: Masturbating has a great deal going for it!

I’ve had a long history with the activity, and although I’ve never included it on my resume as one of my hobbies (“an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure,” according to Google definitions), I guess I could classify it as a part-time interest. It’s one of those pastimes that can give me great pleasure, without relying on anyone else, although I have done it alongside someone else, which can be quite enjoyable, too. Oh, I almost forgot, you can enlist another player to stand in for you, but unless he or she knows the right moves, you’re better off going it alone.

Like many activities that run into big bucks, given all the paraphernalia you need (think skiing, scuba diving, painting), this one doesn’t require a single thing you don’t own. Expensive permits or certification classes aren’t required, either. However, there is one small piece of equipment I’d strongly urge other masturbators to consider, that can give this activity to a whole new dimension: A vibrator.

WHAT MAN DOES THIS!!!!!!

If you’re one of the older boomers, like I am, you might have believed all these years that nice, respectable girls didn’t use vibrators. And you might have a long-time partner who also doesn’t know the ins and outs of vibrators (excuse the pun, couldn’t help myself). But you can trust me on this one: If handled adroitly, a vibrator can become an extension of yourself. It can perform when you’re tired; be charged up and ready to go at a moment’s notice, without prodding or cajoling, and will respond to your every command. Now tell me, what man does that?

You must choose your vibrator carefully, however. Like anything else, all vibrators are definitely
not created equal.

Many sound like jackhammers; run out of steam before you can get steamed up; are so cheaply made, they fall apart after a few months of activity, and do their job haltingly, clumsily and impotently. In these cases, you’re better off masturbating without one.

I’ve tried more than a few vibrators since making their acquaintance around 12 years ago, (I sometimes think of all the fun I missed all those years before we met), but even when I fell in love with one right from the start, the affair didn’t last long. So when the folks at Revel Body asked if I’d try their new Revel Body SOL Sonic Vibrator, I was game.

“We think of these as lifestyle products to enhance sexual well-being, not as sex toys.”

—Robin Elenga, Revel Body CEO

SUPERIOR STIMULATION

Hands down (another of those crazy little puns!), this is the best vibrator I’ve ever used. Without getting into boring, hard-to-understand, technical information on what makes it such a cool operator, let me describe it this way:

The cute little round device has a magnetically centered moving part, powered up by quick, alternating magnetic pulses created by a patented Revel Body technology. Unlike traditional battery-powered vibrators, with limited speeds, this unit sits on a stand, which charges the lithium-powered battery, and delivers a wide range of adjustable vibration “never before seen in sexual wellness products,” according to the company. Making that even clearer, the powerful vibrations provide superior stimulation to the sensitive part of your body, referred to by others (never us) as the clitoris. Said even more succinctly: This thing makes you feel great!

The tube-shaped magnetic center can easily be popped out when you want to change one of the three tips, coloured deep pink and funnily called Rose, Fawn and Ever. Each tip is shaped differently, to create a unique sensation when glided upon the clitoris (there, I said it). Experimenting is the best way to find the tip that works best on and for you! The technology also reportedly reduces vibration to the hand by 80 percent, and the ergonomic shape makes it feel comfortable and easy to use.

WELCOME TO THE JOYS OF OM

“Revel Body SOL is the only vibrator that can operate at the frequency of the OM tuning fork (136.1 Hertz), used to tune the instruments for Indian temple music. It is called Sadja, or Sa, the base tone of the Sitar and Tambura, and is said to be good for meditation, sexual awakening, deepening intimacy, reducing stress and renewing your mind, body and spirit,” said Robin Elenga, Revel Body CEO.

Made of high-quality, body-safe materials, the Revel Body SOL is waterproof, rechargeable, and is pretty enough to leave on your nightstand. Vibrators that are shaped like penises generally don’t perform like the real goods and you can’t wait to stash them away.

Another great feature of the Revel Body SOL is that it generates underwater vibration and suction when the concave side is used underwater and held again the body. It is a sensation unlike any other. I see lots of baths in my future.

One more thing: The $139 investment is nothing, considering the return. I’d pay twice as much for this, even if I had to give up drinking cappuccino for a couple of weeks. Those can be stimulating, too, but they don’t come close to this.

Why Do Some Women Over 50 Crave Fame?

This is the story of three real women—one in her late 70s, one in her early 60s, and one in her late 50s—who have either achieved fame, given up fame
or are on an endless quest for it.

Searching for
New-Found Fame

I recently met the woman in her late 70s, whose name is known to most of us over fifty. I’m not going to reveal her identity, however, because what I’m going to say probably wouldn’t delight her. Besides, her identity is less important than what she symbolizes.

This woman has enjoyed a great deal of professional and personal success throughout much of her adult life. I guess you could have even called her a “celebrity” from the 70s through the 90s. But while she has continued to do her craft, and has a great deal to offer others, her “star” doesn’t shine nearly as brightly as it once did. This is not because she’s any less talented now, but simply because the “world” in which she once circulated no longer exists. For one, the media that helped her attain fame—namely newspapers and magazines—don’t have the clout they once did. So even if she’s quoted and her photo appears in the New York Times this morning, no one much cares or thinks about it by noon. Second, she hasn’t created a powerful presence for herself on the Internet. She’s trying, but she lacks the digital marketing savvy she needs. No matter how successful she is at attracting real live audiences when she lectures, in person, that doesn’t translate to a great number of fans on her website or Facebook page.

Now, here’s the rub: This woman yearns for the good old days, when she would draw a crowd around her by just walking into a party, and the next morning her name would appear in all the papers, which only fueled her celebrity status. While chatting about the present, I sensed that her mind was focused far away from our conversation. Oh, she’s darn astute, I assure you, but seemed most “present” when she talked about the past. Part of the reason, I suppose, is that she lost her husband a number of years ago, a man with whom she enjoyed great happiness, both personally and professionally.

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Eating Like A Woman With Staness!

Question:

What do you serve to a friend whose revolutionary new book, Eat Like A Woman, is going to be featured on one of the two big morning shows next month?

Answer:

You serve her one of the dishes from her book, of course!!!

My beautiful, talented and all-around wonderful pal, Staness Jonekos, flew in from LA this week for a media tour, so I decided to cook a Honey-Glazed Spiced Pork Tenderloin for her, from a recipe in Eat Like A Woman.

The elegant recipe was simple to follow and took under 20 minutes to put together. The two-pound pork tenderloin cooked in about 25 minutes.

The dish was light and scrumptious. Slightly spicy and sweet at the same time (it’s made with a dash of cayenne pepper, as well as honey), I served it with broccoli and garlic. Pork tenderloin is super lean, extremely low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, and full of protein.

I’m not going to give you the recipe here because I want you to buy the book, but here are the nutrition facts for 3 ounces of pork tenderloin: 122 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0 carbs, 0 sugar and 22 grams of protein. As Staness would say: “Yummers!”

Eat Like A Woman is not a cookbook. It’s worlds better because it tells us what we should eat, why we should eat it, and when we should eat it. The recipes in the back are bonuses.

I’m tempted to next make the Dolly Parton’s Hello Dolly Bars. Staness is crazy about them. They’re not dietetic but, as my friend says: “Practice portion control and you don’t need to diet.”